Skip to main content

Full text of "Essays on Philosophical Subjects"

See other formats

This is a digital copy of a book that was preserved for generations on library shelves before it was carefully scanned by Google as part of a project 
to make the world's books discoverable online. 

It has survived long enough for the copyright to expire and the book to enter the public domain. A public domain book is one that was never subject 
to copyright or whose legal copyright term has expired. Whether a book is in the public domain may vary country to country. Public domain books 
are our gateways to the past, representing a wealth of history, culture and knowledge that's often difficult to discover. 

Marks, notations and other marginalia present in the original volume will appear in this file - a reminder of this book's long journey from the 
publisher to a library and finally to you. 

Usage guidelines 

Google is proud to partner with libraries to digitize public domain materials and make them widely accessible. Public domain books belong to the 
public and we are merely their custodians. Nevertheless, this work is expensive, so in order to keep providing this resource, we have taken steps to 
prevent abuse by commercial parties, including placing technical restrictions on automated querying. 

We also ask that you: 

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Google Book Search for use by individuals, and we request that you use these files for 
personal, non-commercial purposes. 

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort to Google's system: If you are conducting research on machine 
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the 
use of public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help. 

+ Maintain attribution The Google "watermark" you see on each file is essential for informing people about this project and helping them find 
additional materials through Google Book Search. Please do not remove it. 

+ Keep it legal Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just 
because we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States, that the work is also in the public domain for users in other 
countries. Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of 
any specific book is allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Google Book Search means it can be used in any manner 
anywhere in the world. Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe. 

About Google Book Search 

Google's mission is to organize the world's information and to make it universally accessible and useful. Google Book Search helps readers 
discover the world's books while helping authors and publishers reach new audiences. You can search through the full text of this book on the web 

at |http : //books . google . com/ 


wo* ^ / 








B Y 

The late AdAM SMltHi LL.D. 



An account of the LIFE and WRITINGS 



Printsd for Messrs. Wogan, Byrne, J. Moore, 

Colbert, Rice, W. Jones, Porter, 

and folingsby. 









The- iniiith famehted Aather of 
thefe EFays left them iti the handct 
of his Ariends to be di^ofed of a« 
they thought proper, having^ immen 
diately t^orehia 4^ath deilroyed 
maoy oth^i; inanufbtipts which he 
thought unfit forheing made public. 
When thefe were infpe6led, the 
greater number of them appeared to 
be parts of a plan he once had form- 
ed, for giving a conneded hiftory of 
the hberal fciences and elegant arts. 
It is long fince he found it neceifa- 
ry to abandon that plan as far too 
extenflve ; and thefe parts of it lay 
beiide him negle^ed until his death. 
His friends are perfuaded however, 



that the reader will find in them that 
happy[ poiine|9[ipn,' that full -and i^c-. 
curate expreflion, and that clear il- 
luftratipn which are cpnfpicuous in 
the ireft of his works ;" arid that, 
though it is difficult to add much 
to the gjeeat.fiame he fo ^juiUy ajp- 
q^ulred ; by jiis : pthpr wri|ing8, thefe 
will , be ,Tsad with fati$£i6tion and 

' ; ■'[ JOSEPH black: 

JAMES Hut TOl^, 


. !. ^ . 1 

, C Q N T E N T S, 

AcCOVifTcf the Life and Writings' of AAzxxx 

SEC}:. I, &Qm Mr. Smith's Bixth till the PubUcation 

of the Theory of Moral Sentiments ibid. 

• II. Of the Theory of Moral Sentiments, attd tfc« 

Piffertation on the Or^n of Languages 


•IIL Jtom the fablication of the Theory of.Mo^ 

ral Seatimentsi till that of the We^th of 

Nations - r - ixiv 

IV. Of the Inquiry^ into the Nature and ^aufea 

of the Wealth of Nations - Ixxzi 

V. Conclufion of the Narrative - cviii 

Tie JPrincipks which had and direS fhikfaphical 
Enquiries; illujirated by the History of 
Astronomy r - - - - X 

SECT. L Qf the Effed of Unexpedednefs ox of Sur- 

prife - - - . ^ 

n. Of Wonder, or of ^he Iflfefts of Novelty i j 

ni. Of the Origin of Philofophy - - 31 

^V. The ]^iifiory of Aftrpnomy - - 40 



The Principles which lead and direS Philofopkical 
Enquiries "i ittufirated hy the Hi stout of the 
Ancient Physics - • Page 131 

Th$ Principles which lead a$id direH Shilofifhieal 
Enquiries; illujlrated by the Histokt of the 
Ancient Logics and Metaphysics 155 

Of the Nature of that Imitation which takes place 
in what are called the Iihtativb Arts 179 

Of the Affinity between MusiCf DANctNo, and 
PoBTRT -^ - * - . * 244 

€^ the Affinity between eertain English and 
Itajlian Vehms # , • 253 

Of the EX7B1INA1 Senses - • 267 

Of ibe Scnfe of Touching 170 

[ OftheScnfeofTafting • - - - 28a 

Of the Senfe of Smelling «... 283 

bfthcSenfeof Heariog .... 284. 

Of theSenft of SeciDg - - •* ^ 994 




O ¥ 



fRnd-hy UlSttvaxt, Jxaxutjn, and March i8, i793.] 



o p 



from Mr. Smith's Birth till the Publication of 
the Theory of Moral Sentiments. 

Adam smith. Author of the Inquiry into 
the Nature and Caufes of the Wealth of Nations, 
was the fon of Adam Smith, Comptroller of 
the Cuftoms at Kirkaldy ^, and of Ma&oa&ex 
a Douglas, 

* Mr. Smith, the &thery was a native of Aberdeenflure, 
tnd in tlie earlier part of hit life pra Aifed at Edinburgh as a 
Writer to the Signet. He was afterwards private fecretar/ to 
die Earl of Loudoun, (during the time that he held the officer 
of Principal Secretary of State for Scotland, and of Keeper of 
the Great Seal,} and continued in this £tuation till 1713 or 
I7i4> when he i^as appointed Comptroller of the Cuftoms at 



Douglas^ d«i^tsf of Mr. D qij ql a ^ of Sira* 
thenry. He was the only child of the marriage, 
and was bom at Kirkaldy on the 5th of June, 
1723, 4 few months after the dtath of hi» father. 

His conftitution, during ia&ncy, was infirm and 
fickly, and required all the tender folicitude of 
ids furvivin^ parent. She y^fw blamed for treat- 
ing him with an unlimited indulgence ; but it pro- 
duced no unfavourable effedb on his temper or 
his difpofitions : — and he enjoyed the rare fatis- 
fadioc^of 'being ajbl« to repay her affe^oB, by 
every attention that filial gratitude could di£late, 
during the long period of fixty years. 

An accident which happened to him when he 
was about three yeirs old, is df too interefting a 
nature to be omitted in the account of fo valuable 
a life. He had been carried by his mother to 
Strathenry on a vifit to his lincle i/tr. Douglas, 
and was one day amufing himfelf alone at the 
door of the houfe, when he was ftolen by a party , 
of that fet of vagrants who are known in Scot- 
land by the name of tinkers. . Luckily he was 1 
foon niiffed by liis uncle, who hearing that fome 1 
vagrants had paffed, purfued them, with what af- 


ltirlal^3r. He y»t9 alfo Clerk to the Courts Mattial and 
' Councils of War for Scotland ; an office irlisch lie iield from 
1707 till his death. As it is now ffeventy years fince he died, 
the accounts I have received of him arfe rtry imperfeA ; but 
fibm the pirdcnlats alreadf inentioned,. it 1IM17 be fttCumbd, 
tbtt lite IXrtis a man of more than common abilities. 


fiftahce he couki find, dll he overtook them ia 
Lcflie wood ; and xvas the happy inftrument of 
preferviBg to the world k genius, whieh was dtf^ 
ftined, not only t<y extend the boundaries of 
fcience, but to entighten and reform theGOBinier<^ 
cial poliey of Barope. 

The fchool of Kirkaldy, where Mr. Smith 
received the firft rudiments of bis educationy was 
then taught by Mr. David Miller, a teacher^ 
in his day, of confiderable reputation, and whofe 
name deferves to be recorded, on account of the 
eminent men whom that very ob&ure feminary 
produced while under his diredlion. Of this 
number were Mr. Oswald of Dunikeir; his 
brother^ Dr. John Oswald, aiiierwards Eifiio{i 
of Raphoe ; and our late excellent colleague, the 
Reverend Dr. John Drysdalk: all af them near-i 
ly contemporary with Mr. Smith, and united 
with him through life by the clofeft ties of friends 
ihip.— One of his fchool-fellows is ftill alive*; 
and to his kindne& I am principally indebted fop 
the fcanty materials which form the firft part ofi 
this narrative. 

Among thele companions of his earlieft years, 
Mr. Smith foon attraded notice, by his pafEon 
for books^ and by the extraordinary powers of 
his memory. The weaknefs of his bodily confti-^ 
tution prevented him from partaking in their more 
a 2 aftivo' 

* CioaGz D&TSDAKX, Efq- of EirkaM7» htoihefot the 
late Dr. DartDALX. 


adive amufements ; but he was much beloved hj 
them ou account of his temper^ which, though 
warm, was to an uncommon degree friendly and 
generous. Even then he wa& remarkable for thofe 
habits which ronained with him through life, of 
fpeaking to himfelf when alone, and oiabfencc in 

' From the grammar-fchool of Kif kaldy, he was 
fcnt, in 1737, to the Univerfity of Glafgow, 
where he remained till 1740, when he went to 
Baliol College, Oxford, as an exhibitioner on 
Snbll's foundation. 

Dr. Magxaine of the Hague, who was a fel- 
low-fludent of Mr. Smith's at Glafgow, told me 
Ibme years ago, that his favourite puriiiits while 
at that Univerfity were Mathematics and Natural 
Philofophy ; and I remember to haVe heard my 
&ther remind him of a geometrical problem of 
confidiprable difficulty, about which he was occu* 
pied at the time when their acquaintance com- 
menced, and which had been propofed to him as 
an exercife by the celebrated Dr. Simpson. 


Thefe, however, were certainly not the fciences I 
in which he was foimed to excel; nor did they 
long divert him from purfiiits more congenial to 
hi^ mind. What Lord Bacon fays of Plato 
may be juftly applied tb him : " Ilium, licet ad 
^ rempublicam non acceffiiTet, tamen natura et 
^ inclinatione omnino ad res civiles propenfum, 

" vires 


•* vires CO prxcipue intendiffe ; nequc de Philo- 
^ fophia Natural! admodum foUicitum efie ; nifi 
"* quatenufr ad Philofophi nomen et celebritatem 
^ tuendam, et ad majjeftatem qoandam moralibos 
'^ et ciyilibus do6lrinis addendam et afpergendam 
** fafficeret *•'' The ftudy of haman aature in all 
its branches, more particularly of the political 
hiftory of mankind, opened a boundlefs field to 
Iris curiofity and ambition ; and while itt afforded 
fcope to all the various powers of his verfatile and 
comprehenfive genius, gratified his ruling pafiion, 
of contributing to the happinefs and the improve^- 
ment of fociety. To this ftudy, diverfified at his 
leifiire hours by the lefs fevere occupations of po- 
lite literature, he feems to have devoted himfelf 
almoft entirely from the time of his removal to 
Oxford ; but he ftill retained, and retained even 
in advanced years, a recolle&ion of his early ac** 
quifitions, which not only added to the fplendour 
of his converfation, but enabled him to exemplify 
Ibme of his favourite theories concerning the na- 
mral progrefs of the mind in the inveftigation of 
truth, by the hiftory of thofe fciences in which 
the connexion and fuccefiion of difcoveries may 
be traced with the gieateft advantage. If I am 
not mi^aken too, the influence of his early tafte^ 
for the Greek geometry may be remarked in the 
elementary cleamefs and fiilnefs, bordering fbme- 
times upon prolixity, with which he frequently 
dates his political reafonings. — ^The leAures of 
the profound and eloquent D&. Hutcheson, 
which he had attended previous to his departure 

* RedurgutiQ Philofophianiiii« 


£rom Glafgow, and of which he alv^ya fpokc in 
feeriD^ of )the warmefl: admiration, had, it. may be 
Kafomably prefumed, a coafiderable effed ia di* 
aeding his taleats to their proper objei£la. 

I have not been able to coUed any infarmataon 
with refpeA to that part of his youth which was 
fpent in £ngland. I have heard him fay^ that 
he employed himfelf frequently in the pradicc of 
tranflation, (particularly from the French) with a 
view to the improvement of his own fiile : and 
lie ufed often to exprefs a favourable opinion of 
the Btility of fnch exercifes, to all who cultivate 
the art of compoTition. It is much to be regret- 
ted, that none of his juvenile attempts in this way 
^vc been preferved ; as the few fpecimeas which 
his writings contain of his fkill as a tr^flator, 
are fufficient to ihew the eminence he had attaijn- 
ed in a walk of literature, which, in our country, 
has ]^ca fo little frequented by men of genius. 

It was probably alio at this period of his life, 
tSiat he cultivated with the greateft care the ftudy 
of languages. The knowledge he pofTeiTed of 
thefe, both ancient and modem, was nncommon- 
ly exteniive and. accurate; and, in him, was fub^ 
fervient, not to vain parade o£ taftelefs erudition, 
Iwtt to a £umliar acquaintance with every thing 
that could illuflrate the inftitutions, the manners^ 
and the ideas of di&rcnt ages and nations. How 
jbtinutely he had once been converfant with the 
moK ornamental branchies of learning^ in parti-* 

. cular. 

yiJirtWGS,Of |». WITH. xy 

fiUar^ with tbe w^rks of the Rbrnan,. Greek^ 
FMUch, aad Italian poets, appeared fu$cieutly 
fc<Hp. the hold whiich they kept of his xnemory, 
after all the difierent occupations and enquiries ij^ 
which his maturer faculties had been employed *. 
la the Engliih language, the variety of poetical 
pafi^ges \vl)ich he was not only accuftomed to re^ 
^r to Qccafionally, but which he was able to re- 
peat with cqrrei^efs^ appeared furprifixig evea 
to thofe, whofe attention had never bceu dire^e^ 
to more importjiiu: acquifition^. 

After a refidence at Oxford for feven years, he 
returned to Kirkaldy, and lived two years with 
his mother; engaged in ftudy, but without any 
fixed plan for his future life. He had been origi- 
nally deftined for the Church ,of England, and 
with that view had been fent to Oxford ; but not 
finding the ecclefiaftical profeflion fuitable to his 
tafte, he chofe to confult, in this ihftance, his 
own inclination, in preference to the wifties of 
his friends; and abandoning at once all the 
fchemes which their prudence had formed for 
him, he refolved to return to his own country, 


• The uticomnon degree in ^htch Mr. Smith retained 
poAeffion, even to tke clofe of his life, of dififereat bramchei of 
knowledge which he ha4 long chafed tg culd^^te, has been of- 
ten remarked to me bj my learned colleague and friend, Mr. 
Daizzl, ProfeiTor of Greek in this Univerfity. — Mr.DALZzL 
mentioned particularly the readinefs and corrednefs of Mr. 
SmTR's memory on philological fubjeds, and the acutenefi 
and OaU ^e dilplaycd in various cenver&tiosft wttii ban on 
ibme^ of the mmutui of Greek grammar* 


and to limit his ambition to the uncertain profpeft 
of obtaining, in time, fome one of thofe moderate 
preferments, to which literary attainments lead 
in Scotland. 

In the year 1748, he fixed his refidcncc at 
Edinburgh, and during thai and the following 
years, read leftures on rhetoric and belles Icttrcs, 
under the patronage of Lord Kames. About this 
time, too, he contrafted a very intimate, friend- 
fliip, which continued without interruption till 
his death, with Mr. Alexander WedderburjT,' 
now Lord Loughborough, and with Mr. WiL-^ ^ 
LiAM Johnstone, now Mr. Pulteney, 

At what particular period his acquaintance with 
Mr. David Hume commenced, does not appear 
from any information that I have received ; but 
frpm fome papers, now in the pofTeflion of Mr. 
Hume's nephew, and which he ha3 been fo oblige 
ing as to allow me to perufe, their acquaintance 
feems to have grown into friendlhip before the 
year 1752. It was a friendlhip on both fides 
founded on the admiration of genius^ and the love 
of fimplicity ; and which forms an interefting 
circumflance in the hiftory of each of thefe emi- 
nent men, from the ambition which both have 
ihewn to record it to poftprity. 

In J 75 1, he was elefted Profeffor of I^gic in 
the tlniverlity of Glafgow ; and, the year follow- 
)ng» he was removed to the {^rofefTorflup of Mo- 


lal Philofophy in the fame Univcrfity, upon the 
death of Mr. Thomas Craioie> the immediate 
fuccefibr of Dr. HrxcHESoN. In this fituation 
he remained thiiteen years ; a period he ufed fre- 
quently to look back to, as the moft ufefiil and 
happy of his life. It was indeed a fituation in 
which he was eminently fitted to excel, and in 
wliich the daily labours of his profeflion were 
conftantly recalling his attention to his favourite 
purfuits, and familiarifing his mind to thofe im- 
portant {peculations he wae afterwards to commu- 
nicate to the world. In this view, though it af- 
Corded, in the mean time, but a very narrow fcene 
for his ambition, it was probably inftrumental, in 
no inconfiderable degree^ to the future eminence 
of his literary charader. 

Of Mr. Smithes le^res while a Profeffor at 
Glafgow, no part has been preferved, excepting 
what he himfelf publifhed in the Theory of Mo» 
fal Sentiments and in the Wealth of Nations* 
The Society therefore, I am perfuaded, will liften 
with pleafure to the following fliort account of 
them, for which I am indebted to a gentleman 
who was formerly one of Mr. Smith's pupils, 
and who continued till his death to be one of hif 
moil intimate and valued friends, 

" In the Profeflbrlhip of Logic, to which Mr. 
Smith was appointed on his fiHl introdu^ion in« 
to this Univerfity, he foon faw the neceffity of de- 
parting widely from the plan that had been fol- 



lowed. by his predc^crflbrs^ and of dire&nxg tht 
attentioQ of his pupils to ft^dies of a more iatch 
];eftixig and ufef^l nature than the logic ai^d m^ 
tapfayfics of the fchools. Accordiiigly, aft^r ex* 
j^ibjti^g a general view of the powers of th^ mind? 
^nd explaining fo much of thp anciedt logic as 
was requifite to gratify c^riofity with refped to 
^Sk artificial method of reafoning, which had 0iQ£;f 
occupied the univerlal attention of the learned^ 
be dedicated all the reft of his time t<^ the delive- 
ry of a fyftcm of rhetoric and belles lettres. The 
beft method of explaining and illiaftrating the 
yafious powers of the human miiid> the moft ufe- 
CqI part of metaphyfics^ arifea from an examina- 
^w of the fi^ve^al ways of communicating our 
thoughts by fpeech, and from an, attenuon to the 
principles of thofe literary compoiitions which 
contribute to perfyalioa or entertainment. By 
thefc arts, every thing that we perceive or feel, 
evpry operation of our minds, is exprefled and 
d^Uneated in fuch a manner, that it may be clear^ 
Jy diftinguiftied and remembered,' There is, at 
the fame time, no brianch of literature more fuited 
fo youth at th^ir firft entrance upon philoibphy 
jkhaathis, which lays hold of their tafte aistfl iheir 

, ** It is much to be regretted, that the manu- 
fcript containing Mr. Smith's leiSiures on this 
fubjeA was deftroyed be&re his death. The firft 
|iart, in point of compe£tion, was highly finiih- 
4di and the wfapk difooreied ftrong marks qf 


WJUTiNGs OF jyfL swm^ ^ 

tafte and original genius. From the p^muflioai^ 
given to fiudents of taking notes^ many pbferva<- 
tions and opinions contained in theft le&uroB 
)2ave either b^en detailed in feparate difiienation^ 
or ingrolTed in general coUedions, which have 
£noe been given to the public* But thefe, a^ 
might b^ expe(£ted, have loft the air of originali- 
ty and the diftin^live charader wJbich they rc»- 
ireived from their firft author, and are often ob* 
feared by that multiplicity of comaio;i-p}aoe maj^ 
ter in which they are funk and involved. 

^^ About a year after his appointment to tliie 
Proieflprfliip of Logic, Mr. Smith was elected t^ 
the chair of Moral Philofophy. Hji^ coijirfe of 
jeStxiTcs 00 this fubje6l was divided into four parts* 
The firft contai^icd Namral Theology f in which 
he considered the proofs of the beiug and attri* 
botes of God, and thofe principles of the hmoao 
4nind upon which reli^on is founded. The fc- 
cond comprehended Ethics ftridly fb called^ an4 
coniifted chiefly of the doi^rines which he aft^x>> 
wards publiftied in his Theory of Moral Senti- 
ments. In the third part, he treated at more 
length of that branch of morality which relates 
H^jvftice, and which, being fufceptible of prccifc 
t^qid accurate rules, is for that reafon capable of a 
fyja and particular explanationt 

^' Upon this fubjed he followed the plan that 

feems to be fuggefted by Montesquieu ; ^dtj^ 

nmnog t9 irac€ the gradua>l progr^fs Qf jvu^ifprii- 

, dence^ 


dencc, both public and private, from the rudeft 
to the moft refined ages, and to point out the e£- 
fefis of thofe arts which contribute to fubfiftence, 
and to the accumulation of property, in produc- 
ing correfpondent improvements or alterations in 
law and government. This important branch 
of his labours he alfo intended to fgivc to the 
public ; but this intention, which is mentioned 
in the conclufion of the Theory of Moral Senti- 
ments, he did not live to fulfil. 

" In the laft part of his ledures, he examined 
thofe political regulations which are founded, not 
upon the principle of juJHce^ but that of expe^ 
diency^ and which are calculated to increafe the 
riches, the power, and the profperity of a ftate. 
Under this view, he confidered the political in- 
ftitutions relating to commerce, to finances, to ec- 
clefiaftical and military eftablifhmerits. What he 
delivered on thefe fubjefts contained the fubftance 
of the work' he afterwards publiftied, under the 
title of An Inquiry into the Nature and Caufes of 
the Wealth of Nations, 

*' There was no fituation in which the abilities 
of Mr. Smith appeared to greater advantage than 
as a Profeflbr. In delivering his leftures, he 
trufted almdft entirely to extemporary elocution. 
His manner, though not graceful, was plain and 
unafledied ; and as he feemed to be always intc- 
Tefl(^d in the fubjedl, he never failed to intcreft 
)ii8 hearers. Each difcourfe confifted commonly 


WRrmrGS of dil sMrnir^ && 

of federal diftin£l propofitions, which he fuccef- 
fivclf endeavoured to prove and illuftrate. Thefe 
propofidqns, when announced in general terma^ 
had, from their extent^ not unfrequently . fooie* 
thing of the air of a paradox. In his attempts t0 
explain them, he often appeared, at firft, not to 
be fufficiently pofiefled of the fubjedl, and ipolce 
with fome he&tati<m. As he advanced, however, 
the matter feemed to crowd upon him, his man* 
ner became warm and animated, and his expref-* 
fion eafy and fluent. In points . fiifceptible of 
controverfy, you could eafily difcem, that he fe? 
cretly conceived an oppofition to his opinions^ 
and that he was led upon this account to fupport 
them with greater energy and vehemence. By 
the jiilnefs and variety of his illuftrations, th^ 
fubjeA gradually fwelled in his hands, and ac-. 
quired a dimenfion which, without a tedious re« 
petition of the fame views, was calculated to feize 
the attention of his audience, and to afford them 
pleafure, as well as inftru£lion, in following the 
lame object, through all the diverfity of Ihades 
and afpe£ls in which it was prefented, and after- 
wards in tracing it backwards to that original pro- 
pofition or general truth, from which this beauti* 
ful train of fpeculation had proceeded*. 

^' His reputation as a ProfefTor was according- 
ly raifed very high, and a multitude of fludenta 
from a great diflance reforted to the Univerfity/ 
merely upon his account. Thofe branches of 
fqejacc which he ta«%ht became faihionable at this 
\ . . place^ 

nit AiHxnnrr op the ute ahd 

alxd his opiukms Mrerc tfar cfaicf topict 6f dHcut 
fibn in dobs and literary ibcieties. Ev^n thd 
ImaU peculiarities in Ms prcmunciatioa or manner 
of fpeaking, became frequently the objeds of imi^ 

While Mr. SMifK was tbas diftingoifiiing him^ 
to]f hfhis zeal and ability as a public teacher, 
he was gradually laying the fonndation o£a more 
extenfive imputation, by preparing for the preft 
llis fyftem of morals. The ferft edition of tl»s 
W0rk appttiircd in 1759^ ndder the title of ** The 
Theory of Moral Sentiments.'* 

Hitherto Mr* Smith had remained tmknown to 
tibe wockd as an author ; nor have I heard that be 
hod made a trial of bis powers in any anony« 
IRDUS publicatio&s, excepting in a periodical work 
called TIU Edinburgh R^vieWy which was begun 
in the yeai^ 1755, by fome gentlemen of difiin- 
guiihed abilities, but which they were prevented, 
by other engagements, from carrying further than 
the two firft numbers. To this work Mr. Smi th: 
contrilmted a review c^ Dr. Johnson-'s Didliona- 
ry of the Englifli Language, and al£» a letter, ad^ 
drefTed to the editors, containing fome general 
obfcrvations on the (late of literature in the diffe- 
rent countries of Europe. In the former of thefe 
pqiers, he points out fome de£rSs in Dr. Joitk- 
sok's plan, which he cenfiirea as not fi^ciently 
grommatioal. ^^ The diflferent fignificairions of a 
*' word (hr obienres) ase indeed coUeAed ; but 

" they 

WRITrndb OF VSL. SMtTIt »» 

^* they are feldom digefted into general clafies^ 
*' or ranged under the meaning which the word 
" principally exprefle^: And fufficient care is 
" not taken to diftinguifti the words apparently 
«< fyfiooymous.^ To iUiiftmte this critjbci&i. In 
copies from J^r. JouiisQV.the articles bvt and 
HUMOUR, and oppofes to them the fame articles 
digefted agreeably to his own idea. The varions 
fignifications of the word but are very nicely 
and happily difcriminated.' The other article 
does not feem to have been executed with equal 

The obferVations on the ftate of learning in 
Europe are written with ingenuity and elegance ; 
but are chiefly interefting, as they ftiew the atten- 
tion which the Author had given to the philofo- 
phy and literature of the Continent, at a period 
when they were not much ftudied in this ifland. 

In the fame volume with the Theory of Moral 
Sentiments, Mr. Smith publilhed a Differtation 
" on the Origin of Languages, and on the diffe- 
** rent Genius of thofe which are original and 
** compounded." The remarks I have to offer on 
thefe two difcoutfes, I fhall, for the fake of dit 
tindn^fs, make the fubjeft of a feparate fedion. 





Of the Theory of Moral Sentiments, and the 
Diflertation on the Origin of Languages. 

jL HE fcicnce of Ethics has been divided by 
modern writers into two parts ; the one compre- 
hending the. theory of Morals, and the other its 
praftical do^rines. The queftions about which 
the former is employed, are chiefly the two fol- 
lowing: Hrfty By what principle of our confti- 
tution are we led to form the notion of moral dif- 
tinAions; — whether by that faculty .which per- 
ceives the diflin&ion between truth and falfe- 
liood; or by a peculiar power of perception^ 
which is pkafed with one fet of qualities, and 
difpleafed Wvih another? Secondly^ What is the 
proper objedk of moral approbation; or, in other- 
ijvords, What is the common quality or qualities 
belonging to. all the diflferent modes of virtue ? 
Is it benevolence ; or a rational felf-Iove ; or a 
difpofition to z6i fuitably to the di&rent relations 
in which we are placed ? Thefe two queftions 
feem to exhauft the whole theory of Morals. The 
fcope of the one is to afcertain the origin of our 
moral ideas ; that of the other, to refer the phe- 
nomena of nioral perception to their moft iimple 
and general laws. 

• i' The 


The pradlical doi^rines of morality comprc- 
hcnd all thofc rules of condudl which profefs 
to point out the proper ends of human purfuit, 
and the moil effedual means of attaining them ; 
to which we may add all thofe literary compofi- 
tions-, whatever be their particular form, which 
have for their aim to fortify and animate our good 
difp(^tions, by delineations of the beauty, of the 
dignity^ or of the utility of virtue. 

I fliall not enquire at prcfent into the juftnefs 
of this divifion. I Ihall only obferve, that the 
words Theory and Pradice are not, in this in- 
llance, employed in their ufual acceptations. The 
theory of Morals does not bear, for example, the 
fame relation to the pradlice of Morals, that the 
theory of geometry bears to pradical geometry. 
In this laft fcieuce, all the pra&ical rules are 
founded on theoretical principles previoufly efta- 
bliihed : But in the former fcience, the praflical 
rules are obvious to the capacities of all mankind ; 
the theoretical principles form one of the moft 
difficult fubje6ls of difcuflion that have ever exer- 
cifed the ingenuity of metaphyiicians. 

In illuftrating the dodrines of praftical morali- 
ty, (if we make allowance for fome unfortunate 
prejudices produced or encouraged by violent or 
oppreflive fyftems of policy) the antients feem to 
have availed themfelves of every light furnilhed 
by nature to human reafon ; and indeed thofc 
writers who> in later times, have treated the fub« 

b* jea 

xxvt ' ACCOUNT O* THfc LlFt AMD 

jca with the grcateft fucccfs, arc they who have 
followed moil clofely the footfteps of the Greek 
and the Roman philofophers. The theoretical 
queftion, too, concerning the eflcnce of virtue, or 
the proper ohje3 of moral approbation, was a fa* 
vourite topic of difcuflion in the ancient fchools* 
The queftion concerning the principle of moral 
approbation, though not entirely of modern ori- 
gin, has been chiefly agitated fince the writings 
of Dr. Cud WORTH, in oppofition to thofe of Mr. 
HoBBEs ; and it is this queftion accordingly, (re- 
commended, at once, by its novelty and difficul- 
ty to the curiofity of fpeculative men) that has 
produced moft of the theories which charafterife 
and diftinguifh from each other the later fyftems 
of moral philofophy. 

It was the opinion of Dr. Cudworth, and al- 
fo of Dr. Clarke, that moral diftinftions arc 
perceived by that power of the mind which dif- 
tinguifties truth from falfehood. This fyilcm it 
was one great objeft of Dr. Hutchison's philo- 
fophy to refute, and, in oppofition to it, to ftiew 
that the words Right and Wrong exprefs certain 
agreeable and difagreeable qualities in adlions, 
which it is not the province of reafon but of feel- 
ing to perceive; and to that power df perception, 
which renders us fufceptible of plcafure or of pain 
from the view of virtue or of vice, he gave the 
name of the Moral Senfe. His reafonings upon 
this fubjeS are in the main acquiefced in, both 
by Mr. Hume and Mn Smith; .but they differ 



from him in one important partiraUr,— Dr. Hut- 
CHESON plainly fuppofing, that the moral fcnfe 
is a iimple principle of our conftitution, of which 
no account can be given ; whereas the other two 
phUofophera have both attempted to analyfe it in- 
to other principles more general. Their fyftems, 
however, whh refpeft to it are very different 
from each other. According to Mr. Humb, all 
the qualities which are denominated virtuous, are 
ufelul either to ourfelves or to others, and the 
pleafure which we derive from the view of them 
is the pleafure of utility. Mn Smith, without 
rejeding entirely Mr. Hume's do&rine, propofes 
another of his own, far more compreheniive ; a 
do6irine with which he thinks all the moft cele^ 
brated theories of morality, invented by his pre- 
deceiTors, coincide in p^rt, and from fome par- 
tial view of which he apprehends that they have 
ail proceeded. 

Of this very ingenious and original theory, I 
Oiall endeavour to give a ihort abftrad:. To thofe 
who are familiarly acquainted with it, as it is fbat^- 
cd by its author, I am aware that the attempt may 
appear fuperfluous ; but I flatter my felf that it will 
not be wholly ufelefs to fuch as haVe not beett 
much converfant in thefe shUrsSt difqulfitions; 
by prelenting to them the leading principles of 
the fyftem in one connefied view, without thofe 
interruptions of the attention which neccffarily 
arife from the author's various and happy illuftra^ 
b 9 tioBM 


tions, and from the many eloquent digrefiions 
which animate and adorn his compofition. 

The fundamental principle of Mr. Smith's 
theory is, that the primary objeds of our moral 
perceptions are the aAious of other men ; and 
that our moral judgments with refpedl to our own 
eondu6l are only applications to ourfelves of de- 
cifions which we have already psiilcd on the con- 
dud of our neighbour. His work accordingly 
confifts of two parts. In the former, he explains 
in what manner we learn to judge of the conduct 
of our neighbour; in the latter, in what manner, 
by applying thefe judgments to ourfelves, we ac- 
quire afmfe of duty. 

Our moral judgments, both with refped to 
our own condud and that of others, include two 
diftindl perceptions : frjiy A perception of con- 
dud as right or wrong : and, fecondly^ A percep- 
tion of the merit or demerit of the agent. To 
that quality of condud which moralifts, in gene- 
ral, cxprefs by the word Reditude, Mr. Smith 
giv^s the name of Propriety; and he begins his 
theory with enquiring in what it confifts, and how 
we are led to form the idea of it. The leading 
principled of his dodrine on this fiibjed are com- 
prehended in the following propofitions : * 

• i^ It is from our own experience alone, that 
we can form any idea of what paffes in the mind 
of another perfon on any particular occalion; 



tsd the only way in which we can form this 
idea, is by fuppofing ourfelves in the fame cirpum- 
ftances with him, and conceiving how we fhould 
he affeded if we were fo fituated. It is impoflible 
for OS, however, to conceive ourfelyes placed in 
any fituation, whether agreeable or otherwife, 
without feeling an efie£i of the fame kind with 
what would be produced by the lituation itfelf } 
and of confequence the attention we give at any 
nme to the circumftances of our neighbour, muft 
iSeSt us fomewhat in the fame manner, although 
by no means in the fame degree, as if thefe pir- 
{umftances w^i^e Qur owi^^ 

That this imaginary change of place with other 
men, is the real fource of the intereft we take in 
their fortunes, Mr. Smith attempts to prove by 
various inftances. ^ Wheipi we fee a ftroke aim- 
" ed, and juft ready to fall upon the leg or arm of 
" another perfon, we namrally Ihrink and draw 
*' back our own leg or our own arm ; and when 
^' it does fall, we fe^l it in fome meafure, and are 
" hurt by it as well ^s \he fuffer^r. The mob, 
'' when they ^re gassing at a dancer on the flack 
*^ rope, naturally lyrithe and twill and balance 
*' their own bodies, as they fee him do, and as 
^ they feel that they themfelves muft do if in his 
'' fituation." The fame thing takes place, ac 
cording to Mr- Smith, in every cafe in which 
our attention is turned to the condition of our 
neighbour. " Whatever is the paflion which 
" arifes i[rom any obje^ in the perfon principally 

" concerned. 



'^ concerned, an analogous emotion fprings up, 
'* at the thought of his fituatipn, iij the brcaft of 
'♦ every attentive fpedator. In every paflion of 
*^ which the mind of man is fulceptible, the cmo- 
'^ tion« of the by-ftander always correfpond ta 
'^ what, by bringing the cafe home to himfelf, 
*< he imagines ihoukl be the fentiments of the 
" fuflferer.'* 

To this principle of our nature which Icada us 
to enter into the fituations of other men, and ta 
partake with them in the paffions which thefe 
Situations have a tendency to excite, Mr., Smith 
gives the name of fympathy or fellvtv-fetling^ 
which two words he employs as fynonymous* 
Upon fome occaiions, he acknowledges, that 
tympathy arifes merely from the view of a certain 
emotion in another perfon; but in general it 
arifes, not fo much from the vie^** of the emotion, 
as from that of the iituation which excites it, 

%. A fympathy or fellow-feeling betweeB diffe- 
rent perfons is always agreeable to both. When 
t am in a fituation that excites any paffion, it is 
pleafant to me to know, that the fpe&ators of my 
iituation enter with me into all its various circum- 
ftances, and are affe6led with them in the fame 
manner'as I am myfelf. On the other hand, it is 
pleafant to the fpe^ator to obferve this correfpon-t 
dence of his emotions with mine. 

3. Whesi 



3^ When tlic ipefbtor of another man's fitua** 
tion, upon bringing home to himfelf all its vari-» 
OILS circumflances, feels himfelf afTefted in the 
fiune manner with the perfon principally con- 
cerned, he approves of the afie^ion or paflion of 
this perfon ^s juft and proper and fuitable to its 
objed. The exceptions which occur to this ob- 
ieryation are, according to Mr. Smith, only ap<* 
parent *^ A firanger, for example, pafles by us 
*^ in the ftreet with all the marks of the deepeft 
^^ afflidlion; and we are immediately told, that 
** he has juft received the news of the death of 
^^ his father. It is impofUble that, in this cafe, 
*^ we ihould not approve of hi^ grief; yet it may 
^ ofien happen, without any defed of humanity 
^ on our party that, fp far from entering into the 
^^ violence of his forrow^ we ihould fcarce con^ 
^* ceiye the firft movement$ of concern upon his 
** account. We have learned, however, from exr 
*' perience, that fuch a misfortune naturally eXr 
** citef fuch a degree of forrow ; and we know, 
'^ that if we took time to examine his fituation 
*' fvlly and in all its parts, we 0iould, without 
^ doubt, mod fincerely fympathize with him. It 
^* is upon the confcioufnefs of this conditional 
^^ fympathy that pur approbation of his forrow is 
" founded, leven in thofe cafes in which that fym- 
*^ pathy does not adually take place ; aifd the ge- 
** neral rules derived from our preceding expe- 
^ rience of what our fentiments would common- 
^ ly correfpond with, corre^ upon this, as upon 

** many 

ffldi Accoxmr of the life and 

" many other occafions^ the impropriety of our 
*' prefent emotions/' 

By the propriety^ therefore, of any afie&ion or 
paffion exhibited by another perfon, is to be un- 
derftood its fuitablcnefs to the objeft which ex- 
cites it. Of this fuitablcnefs I can judge only 
from the coincidence of the affedlion with that 
which I feel, when I conceive myfelf in the fame; 
circumfiances ; and the perception of this coin- 
cidence is the foundation of the fentiment of tno^ 
ral approbation. 

4. Although, when we attend to 'the fituation 
of another perfon, and conceive ourfelves to be 
placed in his circumftances, an emotion of the 
fame kind with that which he feels,- naturally 
arifes in our own mind, yet this fympathetic emo- 
tion bears but a very fmall proportion, in point of 
degree, to what is felt by the perfon principally 
concerned. In order, therefore, to obtain the 
pleafure of mutual fympathy, nature teaches the 
fpe^ator to flrive, as much as he can, to raife his 
emotion to a level with that which the objed 
would really produce ; and, on the other hand, 
Ihe teaches the perfon whofe pafiion this objeA 
has excited, to bring it down, as much as he can, 
to a level with that of the fpedlator. 

5. Upon thefe t^'o different efforts are founded 
two different fet3 of virmes. Upon the effort of 
the fpe£lator to enter into the fituation of the perfon 



principally concerned, and to raife his fympathe- 
ric emotions to a level with the emotions of the 
a&or, are founded the gentle, the amiable vir- 
tues ; the virtues of candid condefcenfion and in-> 
dulgent humanity. Upon the effort of the perfou 
principally concerned to lovtrer his own emotions, 
fo as to correfpond as nearly as poflible with 
thofe of the fpe&ator, are founded the great, the 
awful, and refpe<^able virtues ; the virtues of felf- 
denial, of felf-government, of that command of 
the paiiions, which fubjeds all the movements of 
our nature to what our own dignity and honour^ 
and the propriety of our conduft, require, 

As a farther illuftration of the foregoing doc^ 
trine, Mr. Smith confiders particularly the de- 
grees of the different pafiions which are coniiftent 
with propriety, and endeavours to ihcw, that in 
every cafe, it is decent or indecent to exprefs a 
pailion ftrongly, according as mankind are difpo& 
ed, or not dilpofed to fympathize with it. It is 
unbecoming, for exi^mple, to exprefs ftrongly any 
of thofe paffions which arifc from a certain con^ 
dition of the body ; becaufe other men, who arc 
not in (he fame condition, cannot be expeded to 
{ympathize with them. It is unbecoming to cry 
put with bodily pain ; becaufe the fympathy felt 
by the fpedlator bears no proportion to the acute- 
nefs of what is felt by the fufferer. The cafe is 
fomewhat fimilar with thofe pafiions which take 
their origin from a particular turn or habit of the 


In the cafe of the unfocial paflions of hatred 
and refentment, the fympathy of the fpeftator is 
divided between the perfon who feels the pafiHoi^, 
and the perfon who is the obje£l of it. ** Wc 
*< are concerned for both, and our fear for what 
** the one may fuffer damps our refentment for 
** what the other has fuffered," Hence the im- 
perfed degree in which wc fympathize with fuch 
paflions ; and the propriety, when we arc under 
their influence, of moderating their exprefiion. to 
a much greater degree than is required in the cafe 
of any other emotions^ 

The reyprfe pf this takes place with refpeft to 
all the focial and benevolent afiedions. The 
iympathy of the fpe^ator with the perfon who 
feels them, coincide^ with his concern for the 
perfon who is the objeft of them. It is this re- 
doubled fympathy which renders thefe affedions 
fo peculiarly becoming and agreeable^ 

The felfifli emotions of grief and joy, when 
they are conceived on account of our own private 
good or bad fortune, hold a fort of middle place 
' between our focial and our unfocial paflions. 
They arc never fo graceful as the one fet, nor fo 
odious as the other. Even when exceflive, they 
are never f(| difagreeable as e;xccflive refentment ; 
becaufe no oppoiite fympathy can ever intereft us 
againft them : and when moft fuitable to their ob- 
jc&s, they are never fo agreeable as impartial hu- 

VilTWQS OF PR. eMTTH. sxx^ 

iQ4Bity and juft be^evoleiK^ ; l>e(;aufe no doubly 
fympathy cau ever intereft us for them, 

After thefe general fp^culations conceroiag the 
propriety of ^£1 ous, Mr. Smith examines how 
&x the jttdginema of ma^kiod coneenxiog it «rc 
liaLle to be influenced in particular cafes, by tht 
profperou« or the adverfc circumftances of th^ 
^gent. The fcope of his reafoning on this fij.b^ 
jeft is dirtily to ftiew, (in oppofition to the com-t 
xnon opinion) that whexi there is no envy in the 
cafe, our propeniity tp fympathiie with joy i$ 
umch ftronger than our propenfity to fympathiw 
withforrow; and, of confequence^ that it is more 
eafy to obtain the approbation of mankind ii^ 
profpcrity thaa in adverfity. From the fame prin-p 
ciple hQ.traces the origin of ambition^ or of the 
defire of rank and pre-eminence ; the great ob» 
}t£k of which paf&on is, to attain that iltuatioo^ 
which fets a man moft in. the view of general fym« 
pathy and attention, and gives him an eafy cn^f 
pire oyer the aiffedlions of others. 

Having finifhed the analyfis of our fenfe of pro^ 
priety and of impropriety, Mr. Smivh proceeds 
to coniider pur fenfe of merit and demerit ; which 
be thinks has alfo a I'eference, iji the firft in- 
ftance» not to our own charaders, but to the cha^ 
rapiers of our neighbours. In explaining the ori^^ 
gin of this part of our moral conftitution, he avaiU 
liijBafelf of the fame principle of fympathy, into 



which he rcfolvcs the fentimem of moral appfo^ 


The words propriety and improprietyy when ap- 
plied to an affed^ion of the mind, are ufed in this 
theory (as has be^jn already obfervcd) to exprefs 
the fuitablenefs of unfuitablenefs of the affe^ion 
to its exciting caufe. The words merit and de^ 
merit have always a reference (according to Mr. 
Smith) to the ^f(J which the affection tends to 
produce. When the tendency of an affe^ion is 
beneficial, the agent appears to us a proper obje6^ 
of reward ; when it is hurtful, he appears the prQ-» 
per objed of punifhment. 

• The principles in our nature which moft di^ 
redily prompt us to reward and to puniih, arc 
gratitude and refentment. To fay of a perfon, 
therefore, that he is defcrving of reward or of 
puniftiment, is to fay, in other words, that he is 
a proper objeft of gratitude or of refentment j 
or, which amounts to the fame thing, that he i% 
to fonie perfon or pcrfons the objeft of a gratitude 
or of a refentment, which every reafonable man 
is ready to adopt and fympathize with. 

It is however very neccffary to obferve, that 
we do not thoroughly fympathizc with the gra- 
titude of one man towards another, merely be- 
caufe this other has been the caufe of his good for- 
tune, unlefs he has been the caufe of it from mo« 
tives which we entirely go along with. Our fenfe, 


MTRITINGS OF DR. SMiTtt. kxxvii 

tlierefbre, of the good defert of an adion, is a 
compounded fentiment;, made up of an indireft 
fympathy with the perfon to whom the aAion is 
beneficial, and of a dire& fympathy with the af- 
fe&ions'and motives of the agent, — The fame re-- 
mark applies, mutatis mutandis^ to our own fenfe 
of demerit, or of ilUdefert; 

From thefe principles, it is infert^d, that the 
only afiions which appear to us deferving of re- 
ward, are a£lions of a beneficial tendency^ pro- 
ceeding from proper motives; the only a6lions 
which feem to deferve puniftiment, are aflions of 
a hurtful tendency, proceeding from improper 
motives. A mere want of beneficepce expofes to 
no punifhment ; becaufe the mere want of benefi- 
cence tends to do no real pofitive evil. A man^ 
on the other hand, who is barely innocent, and 
contents himfelf with obfcrving ftriftly the laws 
of juftice with refpeft to others, can merit only, 
that his neighbou/s, in their mm, fliould obferve 
religioufly the fame laws with refpeA to him. 

Thefe obfervationd lead Mir. Smith to antici- 
pate a little the fubjed of the fecond great divi- 
fion of his work, by a (hort enquiry into the on* 
gin of our fenfe of juftice as applicable to our own 
conduB ; and alfo of our fentim^nts of remorfc, 
and of good de&rt. 

'The origin of our fenfe of juftice, as well as of 
all our other moral fentiments. He accounts for 


xxxyiik ACx;oDfKT oy the un akd 

by tneana of the principle of fympathy. Whcrt 
I attead only to the feelings of my own broail, 
my own bappinefs appears to me of far greater 
coiifequence than that of all the world befideiv 
But I am confcious^ that in this ezceifiye prefe* 
2Sence, other men cannot poflibly fympathize with 
me, and that to them I appear only one of the 
crowd, in whom they are no more interefted than 
ia any other individual. If I wifli, therefore, to 
iecure their fympathy and approbation, (which^ 
according to Mr. Smith, are the objedls of tlie 
firongeft defire of my nature) it is neceflary for 
Ine to regard my happinefs, not in that light 
ia which it appears to myfelf, but in that light in 
which it appears to mankind in general. If an 
unprovoked injury is offered to me, I know that 
fociety will fympathize with my refcntment ; but 
If I injure the intcrefis of another, who never in-^ 
jured me, merely becaufe they ftand in the way 
of my own, I perceive evidently, that fociety will 
fympathLie with his refentment, and that I Ihall 
becouftc the objedl of general indignation* 

When, upon ilny bccafion, I am led by the 
violeixce of pafiion to overlook thefe coilfidera- 
tions^ and, in the cafe of a competition of into* 
lefts, to aA according to my dwn feelings, and 
not according to thofe of impartial fpe£btors, I 
never fail to incur the punifhmeni of remorfe. 
When my pafiion is gratified, and I begin to rc- 
fle£l coolly on my conduft, I can no longer enter 
into the nwlives from which it pfocecded; it ap- 


pearls as improper to me as to the reft of the world ; 
I lament the effe£ts it has produced ; I pity the 
unhappy fufferer whom I have injured ; and I feel 
myfelf a juft objei^ of indignation to mankind. 
** Such^ fays Mn Smith, is the nature of that 
*' fentiment which is properly called remorfe* 
** It is made up of ftiame from the fenfe of the 
•* impropriety of paft conduft ; of grief for the 
** effcSks of it ; of pity for thofe who fuffer by it ; 
*• and of the dread and terror of punifhment 
^ from the confcioufnefs of the juftly provoked 
" refentment of all rational creatures^" 

The oppofite behatioiir of him who, from pro- 
per motives, has performed a generous adion, in- 
fpires, in a fimilar manner, the oppoiite fenti- 
ment of confciotis merit, or of defenred reward. 

The foregoing obfervations contain a general 
fummary of Mr. Smith's principles with refpeft 
to the origin of our moral fentiments, in fo far at 
leaft as they relate to the conduft of others. He 
acknowledges, at the fame time, that the fenti- 
ments of which we are confcioiis, on particular 
occafions, do not always coincide with thefe prin- 
ciples ; and that they are frequently modified by 
other confiderations very different from the pro* 
priety or impropriety of the affediions of the 
agent, and alfo from the beneficial or hurtful ten» 
dency of thefe affe^lidns. The good or the bad 
confequences which accidentally follow from an 
adlon^ and wbichj aa they do not depend oa the 



agent, ought undoubtbdly, in point of juflice, t© 
have no influence on our opinion^ cither of the 
propriety or the merit of his condu<^^- fcarcely 
ever fail to influence confiderably our judgment 
with refpeft to both ; by leading us to form a 
good or a bad opinion of the prudence with 
which the a£^i6n was performed, and by animate 
ing our fenfe of the merit or demerit of his de- 
figns; Thefe fa£ls, however, do not furKifh any 
objcAions which are peculiarly applicable to Mr. 
Smithes theory ; for whatever hypothefis we may 
adopt with refped to the origin of our moral per^ 
ceptions, all men mud acknowledge, that in fo 
far as the profperons or the unprofperous event of 
an a&ioti depends on fortune or on accident, it 
ought neither to increafe nor to diminifh our mo- 
ral approbation or difapprobation of the agenti 
And accordingly it has, in all ages of the world, 
been the complaint of motalifts, that the atdual 
fentiments of mankind Ihould fo often be in op- 
pofition to this equitable and indifputable ma:cim<< 
In examining, therefore, this irregularity of our 
moral fentiments, Mr- Smith is to be confider- 
cd, not as obviating an objeftion peculiar to his 
own fyftem, but as removing a difficulty which 
is equally conne&ed with every theory on the 
fubjeft which has ever been propofed. So far as 
I know, he is the firft philofopher who has been 
fully aware of the importance of the difficulty, 
and he has indeed treated it with great atwlity 
and fuccefs. The explanation which he gives of 
it is not warped in the Jeaft by any peculiarity 



in his own fchemcj and> I mufl own^ it appears 
to me to be the mofl folid and valuable improve- 
ment he has made in this branch oF fcience. It 
is impoifible to give any abftra£l af it in a Iketch 
of this kind ; and therefore 1 muft content my- 
felf with remarking, that it confifts of three parts. 
The firft explains the caufcs of this irregularity 
of fcmiment ; the fccond, the extent of its in- 
fluence ; and the third, the important purpofcs 
€0 which it is fubfcrvient. His remarks on the 
laft of thefe heads are more particularly ingeni- 
ous and pleafing ; as their obje^ is to ftiew, in 
oppofition to what we ftiould be difpofed at firft 
to apprehend, - that when nature implanted the 
feeds o£ this irregularity in the human breaft, her 
leading intention was to promote the happinefs 
and perfeAion of the fpeqies. 

The remaining part of Mr. Smith's Theory is 
employed in Ihewing, in what manner our fenjt 
rf duty comes to be formed, in confequence of 
an application to ourfelves of the judgments we 
have previoufly paffed on the conduft of others. 

In entering upon this enquiry, which is un- 
doubtedly the moft important in the work, and 
for which the foregoing fpeculations are, accord- 
ing to Mr. Smith's Theory, a neccflary prepa- 
ration^ he begins with ftating tkefaS concerning 
our confcioufncfs of merited praife or blame; 
and it mufl be ov/ned, that the firft afped of thft 
fad, as he himfelf ftates it, appears not very fa- 

c vourablc 

slii Accottrr OF the Litts and 

vourable to his principles. That the great obje£t 
of a wife and virtuous man is not to ^Gt in fuch a 
manner as to obtain the a&ual approbation of 
thofe around him, but to a^ fo as to render him- 
felf the juji and proper objcft of their approba- 
tion, and that his fatisfadlion with his own con- 
duct depends much more on the confcioufnefs of 
deferring this approbation than from that of really 
enjoying it, he candidly acknowledges ; but ftill 
he infifts, that although this may feem, at firft 
view, to intimate the exiftence of fome moral fa- 
culty which is not borrowed from without, our 
moral fentiments have always fome fecrct refe- 
rence, either to what are, or to What, upon a cer- 
tain condition, would be, or to what we imagine 
ought to be, the fentiments of others ; and that 
if it were poflible, that a human creature could 
grow up to manhood without any communication 
with his own fpecies, he could no more think of 
his own chara&er, or of the propriety or demerit 
of his own fentiments and condu6l, than of the 
beauty or deformity of his own face. There is 
indeed a ti^ibunal within the breaft, which is the 
fupreme arbiter of all our a6lions, and which 
often mortifies us amidft the applaufe, and fup- 
ports us under the cenfure of the world ; yet ftill, 
he contends, that if we enquire into the origin of 
its inftitution, we fhall find, that its jurifdiSion 
is, in a great meafure, derived from the authori- 
ty of that very tribunal whofe dccifions it fo of- 
ten and fo juftly rcverfes. 



Mnhcn wc firft come into the world, we, for 
fome time, fondly purfue the impoflible projeft 
of gaining the good-will and approbation of every 
body. We foon however find, that this univerfal 
approbation is miattainablc ; that the moft equita- 
ble condn£l muft frequently thwart the interefts 
or the inclinations of particular perfons, who will 
fcldom have candour enough to enter into the 
propriety of our motives, or to fee that this con- 
dn<3, how difagreeable foever to them, is perfed- 
ly fuitable tp our fituation. In order to defend 
ourfclvcs from fuch partial judgments, we foon 
learn to fet up in our own minds, a judge bc^ 
twccn ourfelves and*thofe we live with. We con- 
ceive ourfelvcs as ading in the prefence of a per- 
fon, who has no particular relation, either to our- 
felves, or to thofe whofe interefts are affefted by 
our conduft ; and wc ftudy to aft in fuch a man- 
ner as to obtain the approbation of this fuppofed 
impartial fpeftator. It is only by confulting him 
that wc can fee whatever relates to ourfelves in its 
proper ftiape and dimenfions. 

There are two different oceafions, on which 
wc examine our own conduft, and endeavour to 
view it in the light in which the impartial fpefta- 
tor would view it. Firft, when we are about ta 
aft; and, fecondly, after we have afted. In both 
cafes, our views are very apt to be partial. 

When we are about to aft, the eagcrncfs of pat 

Son fcldom allows us to confidcr what wc are do- 

c z WS 


ing with the candour of an indiflFercnt perfon. 
When the aftion is over, and the paflions which 
prompted it have fublided, although we can un- 
doubtedly enter into the fentiments of the indifTe- 
rent IpeSator much more coolly than before, yet 
it is fo difagreeable to us to think ill of ourfelves, 
that wc often purpofely turn away our view from 
thofe circumftances which might render our judg- 
ment unfavourable. — ^Hcnce, that felf-deccit which 
is the fource of half the diforders of human life. 

In order to guard ourfelves againft its delufions^ 
nature leads us to form infenfibly, by our conti- 
nual obfervations upon the condudl of others^ 
certain general rules concerning what is fit and 
proper either to be done or avoided^ Some of 
their adions ihock all our natural fentiments; 
and when we obferve other people affedled in the 
fame manner with ourfelves, we are confirmed in 
the belief, that our difappi-obation was juft. Wc 
naturally therefore lay it down as a general rule^ 
that all fuch anions are to be avoided, as tend- 
ing to render us odious, contemptible, or puniih- 
able; and we endeavour, by habitual reflexion, 
to fix this general rule in our minds, in order to 
corred the mifreprefentations of felf-love, if we 
ihould ever be.called on to adl in fimilar circum* 
fiances. The man of furious refentment, if he 
were to liften to the dilates of that paffion, would 
perhaps regard the death of his enemy as but a 
fmall compenfation for a trifling wrong. But his 
pbfcrvations on the condu6i of others have taught 



him how horrible, fuch fanguinary revenges are; 
and he has imprefled it on. his, mind as an invaria* 
able rule, to abftain from them upon all occafionsJ 
This rule prefenres its authority with him, checks 
the impietuofity of his paifion, and corrects thic 
pardal views whi(;h felf-lovc foggefts; although, 
if this had been the firft time in which he conli- 
dered foch an a£tion, he would undoubtedly 
have determined it to be juft and proper, and 
what every impartial fpeiflator would approve of.' 
'A regard to fuch general rules of morality confti- 
tutcSy according to Mr. Smith, what is properly 
called thcfinfe of duty. 

I before hinted, that Mr. Smith does not re- 
jeA entirely from his fyftem that principle of uti- 
Jity, of which the perception in any adion or 
phara&er conftitutes, according to Mr. Hume, 
the ientiment of moral approbation. That no 
qualities of the mind are approved of as virtues, 
but fuch as are ufeful and agreeable, either to the 
perfon himfelf or to others, he admits to be a 
propofition that hqlds univerfally ; . and he alf6 
admits, that the fpntiment of approbation with 
which we regard virtue, is enlivened by the per- 
ception of this utility, or, as he explains the fa£l, 
it is enlivened by our fympathy with the happi- 
nefs of thofe to whom the utility extends: But 
(till he infills, that it is not the view of this utili- 
ty which is either the firft or principal fourc^e o£ 
moral approbation, 



To film up th« whole of his do^rine in a fow 
words. " When we approve of any charaiftcr or 
" a£lion, the fentimcnt$ which we feci are deriv* 
*' ed from four different fources. Firft, yf^ 
" fympathize with the motives of the agpnt ; fe- 
" condly, we enter into the gratitude of thofc 
*^ who receive the benefit of his ailions ; thirdly, 
*' we obferve that his conduct has been agreeable 
^ to the general rules by which thofc two fym- 
" pathie^ generally aft; and, laflly, when we 
** confider fuch anions as making a part of a fy- 
** ftem of behaviour which tends to promote the 
*' happinefs either of the individual or of fociety, 
** they appear to derive a beauty from this utility, 
** not unlike that which we afcribe to any welU 
" contrived machine." Thefe different fenti» 
ments, he think$, exhauft completely, in every 
inftance that can be fuppoftd, the compounded 
fentiment of moral approbation. " After dedud* 
** ing, fays he, in any one particular cafe, all 
*' that muft be acknowledged to proceed from 
** fome one or other of thefe four principles, I 
" fliould be glad to know what remains ; and I 
** fhall freely allow this overplus to be afcribed 
** to a moral fenfe, or to any other peculiar &• 
" culty, provided any body will afccrtain prc- 
^^ cifely what this overplus is." 

Mr. Smith's opinion concerning the nature of 
virtue, is involved in his theory concerning the 
principle of moral approbation. The idea oi vir- 
tue, he thinks, always implies the idea of pro- 



pxic«7^ or of xb^ fuitablenefs of the af&dion to 
the objed which excites it ; which fuitablenefs,; 
according to him, caa be determined in no other 
way than by the fympatby. of impartial fpcftators 
t^ith the motives or the agent. But ftill he appreT 
^end3> that this defcription of virtue is incom- 
plete i for although iu every virtuous a^ion pro* 
priety i« an effeptial ixigredient, it is not always 
the lole ingredient. Beneficent adions have in 
them another quality, by which they appear, not 
only to deferve approbation, but recompence, 
aind excite a iiiperior degree of efteem, ariiing 
from a doid>l^ fympatby with the motives of the 
agent; and the gratityde pf thofe who are the ob- 
jeSts of his afiediiont In this refped, beneficence 
appieara to him to be diilinguiihed from the infe- 
rior virtues of prudence, vigilance^ circumfpec- 
paa, temperance, confbmcy, firmnefs, which are 
plways regarded with approbation, but which 
confer no merit. This diftindion, he appre- 
hends, has not been fufficiently attended to by 
moralifts ; the principles of fome afibrding no ex- 
planation of the approbation we beftow on the in- 
ferior virtues*; fOid thofe of others accounting as 
impcrfeftly for the peculiar excellency which the 
fupreme virpip of beneficence is acknowledged tq 

Such arc the outlines of Mr. Smith's Theory 
of Moral Sentiments; a work which, whatever 
opinion we may entertain o£ the juilnefs of its 
conclufions> m^ft be allowed by all to be a fingu- 



lar effort of invenrion, ' ingenuity, and fubtilty. 
For my own part I muft confcFs, that it does not 
coincide with my notions concerning the foun- 
dation of Morals; but I am eonvinced, at the 
fame time, that it contains a large mixture of 
important truth, and that, although the autlier 
has fometimes been mifled by too great a defirc 
of generalizing his principles, he has had the 
merit of direfting the' attention of philofopher^ 
to a view of htiman nature which had formerly, in 
a great meafure efcapcd their notice. Of the 
great proportion of juft and found reafoning which 
the Theory involves, its ftriking plaufibility is a 
fufficient proof; for as the author himfclf has re- 
marked, no fyftem in liiorals can well gain our 
aflent, if it does not border, in fome refpcft», 
upon the truth. " A fyftem of natural philofo- 
** phy, (he obferves) may appear very plaufible, 
*^ and be for a long time very generally received 
** in the world, and yet have no foundation in 
** nature ; but the author who ftiould affign as the 
" caufe of any natural fentiment, fome principle 
** whic*h neither had any connexion with it, nor 
*' refembled any other principle which had fome 
** connexion, would appear abfurd and ridicu- 
^ lous to the moft injudicious and unexperienced 
** reader." The merit, however, of Mr, St^ith's 
performance does not reft here. No work, un- 
doubtedly; can be mentioned, ancient or modem, 
which exhibits fo complete a view of thofe fa6te 
with refpeft to oiir moral perceptions, which it Js 
one great obje£t of this branch of fcience to refer 


wntrmcs o» dr. smith. xKx 

to their geneiral laws ; and upon this account, it 
well deferves the careful ftudy of all whofe tafte 
leads them to pro'fecute fimilar enquiries. Thefe 
&As are indeed frequently exprefled in a lan- 
guage which involves the author's peculiar theo- 
iries: But they are always prefented in the moft 
happy and heauttful lights; and it is eafy for an 
attentive reader, by ftripping them of hypotheti- 
cal terms, to ftate them to himfelf with that logi- 
cal precifion, which, in fuch very difHcnlt difqni* 
fitions, can alone condu^ i» with certainly to the 

It is proper to obferve farther, that with the 
theoretical dodrines of the book, there are every 
yffhcte interwoven, with lingular tafte and ad<lrefs, 
the porefl and moft elevated maxims concerning 
the practical condud of life ; and that it abounds 
throughout with interefting and inftrudive deli- 
neations of charaders and manners. A confider- 
able part of it too is employed in collateral enqui? 
ries, which, upon every hypothefis that can be 
formed concerning the -foundation of morals, are 
of equal importance. Of this kind is the fpecu* 
lation formerly mendoned, with refpeft to the in- 
.ftience of fortune on oqr moral fentiments^ and 
another fpeculation, no l^fs valuable, with refpe^ 
to the influence of cufiom and faihion on the fame 
part of our conftitution. 

The ftyle in which Mr. Smith has conveyed 
the fimdaoicutal principles on which his Theory 



xefls, does not jfecm iso loe to be fo pc^rle£tljf ft|itr« 
cd to the fubje^ asi tbat wbkb be ^mplpy^ pa 
iDoft other occafioaeu In comosiumeatit^ idca# 
which are extremely abftrad and fiibtil^ iuid 
aboiE which it is hardly pofiible to reafoQ corr^- 
ly, without the fcrupnloua ufe of appropriated 
terma^ he fometimes pi^fente to u« 9 cboice of 
words, by no meanQ ftri&ly fynpnymoua, fo as 
to divert the attention from a ptepifc and ilfiady 
eonceptiooEt of bis propofition ; and 9, fitnilar ef- 
ft&is, in otlier inAaoces, produced by that di- 
verfity of forms which, in the courfe of hia cot 
pious and feducing compofition, the fame trutb 
infeuiibly afliimes. When thi^ folded pf his 
work leads him to addrefs the imagination and 
the heart; the variety and feHcity of bif illuftra* 
tions ; the richnefs and fluency of hi$ eloquence; 
and the fkiil with which he wins the attentioii 
and commands the paflions of his readers, letvf 
him, among our £nglifli moraliftsj without l| 

The Diflfertation on the Origin of Languages^ 
which now forms a part of the fame volume with 
the Theory of Moral Sentiments, was, I believe, 
firft annexed to the fccond edition of that work. 
It is an cffay of great ingenuity, and on which 
the author faimfelf fet a high value ; but, in a ge- 
neral view of fais publications^ it deferves our 



itteadon Ui&, on account of the opinions it con-* 
tains^ than as a fpecimcn of a particjilar fort of 
enquiry, whicbj fo far as I know, is entirely of 
inodern origin, and which feems, in a peculiar 
degree, to have interefted Mr. Smith's curioii? 
ty. Something very fimilar to jt may be traced 
in all his different works, whether moral, politi- 
caiL^ or literary ; and oin all (hefe fubje&s he haf 
^exemplified it with jthp happieil iuccefs. 

When, in fuch a period of fociety as (hat i^ 
which we live, we compare our intelleftual aCf 
qmremcnts, our opinions, manners, and inftitu*. 
tion^ with thofe which prevail among rude tribes^ 
it cannot fail to occur to us as an ipterefting quel^ 
tion, by what gradual fieps the tranfiuion has beea 
made from the firil iimple efforts of uncultivated 
xiature, to a flate of things fo wonderfully arti&i 
cial and complicated. Whence has arifen that 
fyflematical beauty which we admire in tjae flruc<* 
ture of a cultivated lai^^age ; that analogy whic]| 
runs through the oaixture of languages fpoken bj 
the mod remote and unconneded nations; and 
thofe peculiarities by which they are all diftin* 
gaiihed from each other ? Whence the origin of 
the diiferent fcicnces and of the different arts; 
and by what chain has the mind been led from 
their firft rudiment^ to their laft and mofl refined 
improvements ? Whence the aftonilhing fabric of 
the political union; the fimdamental principles 
which are common to all governments; and the 
iliSerent forms which civilized fociety hus aiTum- 


cd in different ages of the world ? On moft of 
thefe fubjedis very little information is to be cx- 
peded from hiftory ; for long before that ftage of 
fociety when men begin to think of recording 
theit tranfadions, many of the moft important 
fleps of their pn^nefs have been made. A few 
infulated fads may perhaps be coUeded from the 
cafual obfervations of travellers, who have view- 
ed the arrangements of rude nations ; but nothing, 
it is evident, can be obtained in this way, which 
approaches to a regular and connedted detail of 
Jiuman improvement^ 

In this want of dired evidence, wc are under 
a necei&ty of fupplying the place of fad by con* 
je6bire ; and when we are unable to afcertaia 
how men have adually conduded themfelves up-* 
on particular occafions, of coniidering in what 
manner they are likely to have proceeded, from 
the principles of their nature, and the circum- 
ftances of their external fituation. In fuch en- 
quiries, the detached fads which travels and 
voyages afford us, may frequently ferve as land- 
marks to our fpeculations ; and fometimes our 
conclufions a priori y may tendlto confirm the ere-, 
dibility of fads, which, on d fuperficial view, 
appeared to b^ doubtful or incredible* 

Nor are fuch theoretical views of human affairs 
fubfervient merely to the gratification of curiofity. 
In examining the hiftory of mankind, as v/ell as 
ia ^xaminipg the phenomena of the material 



world, when we cannot trace the proccfs by 
which an event has been produced, it is often of 
importance to be able to ftxew how it may have 
heen producied by natural caufes. Thu$, in the 
inftance which has fuggefied tbefe remarks, aU 
though it is impofiiblc to d^ermine with certain- 
ty what the fteps were by which any particular 
language wisis formed, yet if we can ibew, from 
tbe known prixiciples of humane nature, how all 
Its various parts might gradually have arifen, the 
mind is not only to a certain degree fatisfied, but 
a check is given to that indolent philofophy, which 
refers to a miracle, whatever appearances, both 
in the natural and moral worlds, it is unable to 

To this fpecies of philofophical inveftigation, 
mrhich has no appropriated name in our language, 
I Ihall take the liberty of giving the title of Theo- 
reticalox Conjeaural Hijiory ; an expreffion which 
coincides pretty nearly in its meaniiig with that 
of Natural Hiftoryy as cmjJoyed by Mr. Hume *, 
and with what fome French writers have called 
Hiftoire Raifonnie. 

The mathematical fciences, both pure and mix- 
ed, afford, in many of their branches, very fa- 
▼ourable fubjefts for theoretical hiftory; and a 
ytry competent judge> the late M. d'ALEMBERT, 
lias recommended this arrangement of their ele- 


^ Ste Uft Natural Hiffoiy of Religibxiii 


mentary principles, which is founded on the na- 
tural fucceffion of inventions and difcoveries, a« 
the beft adapted for intcrefting the curiofity and 
cxercifing the genius of ftiidents. The fame au- 
thor points out as a model a paffage in Montu- 
cla's Hiftory of Mathematics, where an attempt 
is made to exhibit the gradual progrefs of philofo- 
phical fpeculation, from the firft conclufions fug- 
gefted by a general furvey of the heavens, to the 
doArines of Copernicus. It is fomewhat re- 
markable, that a theoretical hiftory of this very 
fcience (in which we have, perhaps, a better op- 
portunity than in any other inftance whatever^ 
df comparing thfe natural advances of the mind 
with the adlual fiicceflion of hypothetical fyftcms; 
was one of Mr. Smith's earlieft compofitions, 
and is one of the very fmall number of his ma- 
nufcripts which he did not deftroy before his 

I already hinted, that enquiries perfe^ly ana- 
lagous to thefe may be applied to the modes of 
government, and to the municipal inftitutions 
which have obtained among different nations. It 
is but lately, however, that thefe important fub- 
je&s have been confidercd in this point of view ; 
the greater part of politicians before the time of 
MoNTESC^jJiEU, having contented themfelves with 
an hiftorical ftatement of fafts, and with a vague 
refcrcTiCe of laws to the wifdom of particular le- 
giflators, or to accidental circumftances, which it 
is now impoffible to afcertain. Montesgluieu, 



cm tlic contrary, confidered laws as originating 
chiefly from the circumfiances of focicty ; and at- 
tempted to account, from tlie changes in the con^ 
dition of mankind, which take place in the diffe- 
rent ftages of theiT progrcfs, for the correfpond- 
ing alterations which their inftitutions undergo. 
It is thns, that in his occasional elucidations of 
the Roman jurifpnidence, inftead of bewildering 
"himfelf amoug the erudition of fcholiafts and of 
antiquaries, we frequently find him borrowing 
his lights from the moft remote and unconnedted 
quarters of the globe, and comfoinkig Iht cafual 
obfervations of illiterate travellers and navigators, 
into a philofophic'al commentary on the hiftory of 
law and of manners. 

The advances made in this line of enquiry 
fince MoNTESQU lEu's time have been great. Lord 
Kam£S, in his Hiftorical Law Trafts, has given 
fome excellent fpecimens of it, particularly in his 
Efiays on the Hiftory of Property and of Crimi- 
nal Law, and many ingenious fpeculations of the 
fame kind occur in the worJcs of Mr. Millar. 

In Mr. Smithes writings, whatever be the na- 
ture of his fubjeft, he Icldom mifles an opportu- 
nity of indulging his curiofity, in tracing from 
the principles of human namre, or from the cir- 
cumftances of fociety, the origin of the opinions 
and the inftitutions which he defcribes. I for- 
merly mentioned a fragment concerning the Hit 
tory of Aftronomy which Ire has left for publican 

tion ; 


tion; and I have heard hUn fay more than once^ 
that he had projefted, in the earlier part of his 
life, a hiftory of the other faiences on the fame 
plan. In his Wealth of Nations, various difqui- 
iitions are introduced which have a like objedl in. 
view, particularly the theoretical delineation he 
has given of the natural progrefs of opulence in 
a country; and his inveftigation of the caufes 
which have inverted this order in the different 
countries of modern Europe. His le&ures on 
jurifprudence feem, from the account of them for- 
merly given, to have abounded in fuch enquiries. 

I am informed by the fame gentleman who fa* 
voured me with the account of Mr. Smith's lec- 
tures at Glafgow, that he had heard him fome- 
times hint an intention of writing a treatile upon 
the Greek and Roman Republics. ** And after 
^^ all that has been publiihed on that fubjed, I 
^' am convinced (fays he) that the obfervations of 
*' Mr. Smith would have fi^efted many new 
** and important views concerning the internal 
*'' and domeftic circumftances of thofe nations^ 
** which would have difplayed their feveral fyf- 
*' tems of policy, in a, light much lefs artificial 
*^ than that in which they have hitherto ap- 
" peared." 

The fame turn of thinking was frequently, in 
his focial hours, applied to more familiar fub- 
jeSs; and the fanciful theories which, without 
the leaft afiedation of ingenuity, he was continu- 



ally darting upon all the common topics of dif- 
courfe^ gave to his converfation a novelty and va- 
riety that were quite inexhauftible. Hence too 
the minutenefs and accuracy of his knowledge on 
many trifling articles which, in the courfe of his 
fpeculations, he had been led to confider from 
feme new and intcrefting point of view ; and of 
iwhich his lively and circumftantial defcriptions 
amufed his friends the more, that he feemed to 
be habitually inattentive, in fo remarkable a de- 
gree, to what was palling around him. 

I have been led into thefe remarks by tht Dif- 
fcrtation on the Formation of Languages, which 
^exhibits a very beautiful fpecimen of theoretical 
bifiory, applied to a fubje£l equally curious and 
difficult. The analogy between the train of 
thinking from which it has taken its rife, and 
that which has fuggefted a variety of his other 
difqulfitions, will, I hope, be a fufficient apolo- 
gy for the length of this digl-eflion ; more parti- 
cularly, as it will enable me to Amplify the ac- 
count which I am to give afterwards, of his en* 
quiries concerning political oeconomy. 

1 fhall only obferve farther on this head, that 
when different theoretical hiftories are propofed 
by different writers, of the progrefs of the human 
mind in any one line of exertion, thefe theories 
are not always to be underftood as {landing in 
oppofition to each other. If the progrefs deli-* 
neated in all of them be plaufible, it is poflible at 

d ' leaft, 


Icaft, that they may all have been realized ; for 
human affairs never exhibit, in any tviro inftances; 
a perfeft uniformity. But whether they have 
been realized or no, is often a queftion of little 
confequence. In moft cafes, it is of more impor- 
tance to ^fcertain the progrefs that is moft fimple, 
than the progrefs that is moft agreeable to faft ; 
for, paradoxical as the proportion may appear, 
it is certainly true, that the real progrefs is not 
always the moft natural. It may have been deter- 
mined by particular accidents, which arc not 
likely again to occur, and which cannot be con- 
fidered as forming any part of that general pro- 
vifion which nature has made fot the improve- 
tnent 6f the race. 

In order to make fome amends for the length 
(I am afraid I may add for the tedioufnefs) of this 
fe£^ion, I fliall fut)join to it an original letter of 
Mr. Hume's, addrefted to Mr. Smith, foon af- 
ter the publication of his Theory. It is ftrongly 
marked With that eafy and afTefiionate pleafantry 
which diftinguifhed Mr. Hume's epiftolary cor- 
refpondence, and is entitled to a place in this 
Memoir, on account of its connexion with an 
important event of Mn Smith's life, which foon 
.after removed him into a new fccne, and in- 
fluenced, to a confiderable degree, the fubfequent 



cdxirfe pf his ftudies. The letter is datc^ from 
Lonclon> 12th April 1759^ 

*^ I give jovL thanks for the agreeable prefent 
of your Theory. Wepperbukn and I made 
prefents of our copied to fuch of our acquaintanc- 
es as we thought good judges, and proper to 
fpread the reputation of the book. I fent^one to 
the Duke of Argyle, to Lord Lytt.lbton, 
Horace Walpole, Soame Jejnnyns, and 
BuRKE) an Irifh gentleman, who wrote lately a 
very pretty treatife on the Sublime. Millar. 
deilred my permiiTion ta feqji one in your name 
to Dr. Warrurton. I have delayed writing to 
you till I could tell you fom^thing of the fucccfs 
of the book, and could prognofticate with fome 
probability, whether it ftiould be finally damned 
to oblivion, or fliould be regiftcred in the temple 
of immortality* Though it has bee|^ publiftied 
only a few weeks, I think ,thfire appear already 
fuch flrong fymptqms, that I can almoft venture 

to foretel ita fate. It is \n ihort this r— 

But I have been interrupted in my letter by .a 
foolifh impertinent vifit of one wbp has lately 
come from Scotland. He tells me that the Unj- 
Ycrfity of Glafgow intend to declare Rouet^s of- 
fice vacant, upon his going abroad with Lor4 
Hope. I queftion not but you will have oiir 
friend Ferguson in your eye, in cafe another 
projeft for procuring him a place in the Univerfi- 
ly of Edinburgh fhould fail. Ferguson has 
very much poliftied and improved his treatife on 
d 2; Refine* 


Refinement^, and with fome amendments it will 
make an admirable book, and difcovers an ele^ 
gant and a fingular genius. The Epigoniad, I 
hope, will do ; but it is fomewhat up-hill work, 
As I doubt not but you confult the revieWs fome^ 
times at prefent, you will fee in the Critical Rci 
viow a letter upon that poem ; and I defire you to 
employ your conjefhires in finding out the author. 
Let me fee a fample of your {kill in knowing 
hands by your guefling at the perfon. I am afraid 
of Lord Kames's Law Trades. A man might as 
well think of making a fine fauce by a mixture oi 
wormwood and aloes, as an agreeable compofi- 
tion by joining metaphyiics and Scotch law< 
However, the book, I believe, has merit ; though 
few people will take the pains of diving into it, 
But, to return to your book, and its fuccefs in 
this town, I muft tell yo u ^ ■■* ^ A plague of 
interruptions! I ordered myfelf to be denied; 
and yet here is one that has broke in upon me 
again. He is a man of letters, and we have had 
a good deal of literary converfation. You told 
me that you was curious of literary anecdotes, 
and therefore I fhall inform you of a few that have 
' come to my knowledge. I believe I have men- 
tioned to you already Helvetius's book dt 
FEfprit. It is worth your reading, not for its 
philofophy, which I do not highly value, but for 
its agreeable compofition^ I had a letter from 


* Pabliflied afterwards under the title of *' Aa Effaj oo 
the Hiftory of Civil Societ//' 


him a few days ago, wherein he tells me that my 
aame was much oftener in the manufcript, but 
that the Cenfor of books at Paris obliged him to 
ftrikc it out. Voltaire has lately publilhed a 
fmall work called Candidcy ou POptimifme. I 

Ihall give you a detail of it—' ^But what is all 

this to my book ? fay you.— My dear Mr. Smith, 
have patience : Compofc ypurfelf to tranquillity : 
Shew yourfelf a philofopher ip praftice as well 
as profeffion : Think on the emptinefs, and ralh- 
nefs, and futility of the common judgments of 
men ; How little they ar^ Regulated by reafon in 
any fubjcil, much more in philofophical fubje^s, 
which fo far exceed (he (:omprehenfion of the 

Non Ji quid turbida Roma 

Bievety accedas : examenve improbum in ilh 
Caftiges trutina ; nee te quajiveris extra. 

A wife man's kingdom is his own breafl ; or^ if 
he ever looks farther, it will oftly be to the judg-* 
ment of a feleft few, who are free from preju- 
dices, and capable of <:^xamining his work. No^ 
thing indeed can be a ftronger prefumption of 
falfehood than the approbation of the multitude ; 
and Phocion, you know, always fufpeded him^r 
felf of fome blunder, whea he was attended with 
the applaufes of the populace. 

" Suppofing, therefore, that you have duly pre^ 
pared yourfelf for the worft of all thefe reflec- 



tioris, I proceed to tell you the melancholy news, 
that your book has been very unfortunate ; for 
the public fecm difpofed to applaud it extremely. 
It was looked for by the foolifh people with feme 
impatience ; and tne mob of literati are begin- 
ning already to be very loud in its praifes. Three 
Bifhops called yefterday at Millar's (hop in 
order to buy copies, and to afk queftions about 
the author. The Bifliop of Peterborough fai(J 
he had paflcd the evening in a company where 
he heard it extolled above all books in the world. 
The Duke of Argyle is more decifive than lie 
ufes to be in its favour^ I fuppofc he cither con- 
fiders it as an exotic, or thinks the author will be 
ferviceable to him in the Glafgow elcftions. — 
Lord Lyttleton fays, that Robertson and 
Smith and Bower are the glories of En^glifti li- 
terature. Oswald protefts he does not know 
whether he has reaped more inftru&ion or enter- 
tainment from it. But you may eafily judge what 
reliance can be jjut on his judgment, who has been 
engaged all his life in public bufinefs, and who 
never fc?s any faults in his friends. Millar 
exults and brags that two thirds of the edition are 
alreiady fold, and that he is now fure ojT fuccefs. 
You fee what a fon of the earth that is, to value 
books only by the profit they bring him. In that 
view, I believe, it may prove a very good book. 

" Charles Townsend, who paffes for the 
clevercft fellow in England, is fo taken with the 
P^rfprniaiice, that* he faid to Oswalp he would 



put the Duke ofBuccLEUOH under the author's 
care, and would make it worth his while to ac- 
cept of that charge. As foon as I heard this^ I 
called on him twice, with a view of talking with 
Ynux about the matter, and of convincing him of 
the propriety of fendii^ that young Nobleman to 
Glafgow : For I could not hope, that he could 
offer you any terms which would tempt you to 
renounce your Pf ofcfforfhip : But I miffed him. 
Mr, TowNSEND pafles for being a little uncer- 
tain in his refolutions ; fo perhaps you need not 
build much on this fall^, 

'* In recompence for fo many mortifying thii^s, 
which nothing but truth could havjc extorted from 
me, and which I could eaiily have multiplied to 
a greater number, I doubt not but you arc fo good 
a Chriflian a^ to return good for evil ; and to flat- 
ter my vanity by telling me, that all the godly in 
Scotland abufe me for my account of John Knox 
and the Reformation. I fuppofe you are glad to 
fee my paper end, an4 that I ;»m obliged to con- 
elude with 

Your Humble Servant, 

David Hume.'* 




From the Publication of The Theory of Moral 
Sentiments, tiU that of The Weahh of Nations. 

After the publication of the Theory of Mo- 
ral Sentiments, Mr. Smith remained four years 
at Glafgow, difcharging his official duties with 
unabated vigour, and with increafing reputation. 
During that time, the plan of his le&ures under- 
went a confiderable change. His ethical do&rines, 
of which he had now publiftied fo valuable a part* 
occupied a much fmaller portion of the courfc 
than formerly; and accordingly, his attentioxi 
was naturally direfted to a more complete illuf- 
tration of the principles of jurifprudence ^xxd of 
political CBconomy^ 

To this lafl fubjeft, his thoughts appear to have 
been occafionally turned from a very early period 
of life. It is probable, that the uninterrupted 
friendihip he had always maintained with his old 
companion Mr. Oswalp had fome tendency to 
encourage him in prof<?cuting this branch of his 
iludies ; and the publicatioa of Mr, Hvme's po-* 
litical difcourfes in the year 1752, could not fail 
to confirm him in thofe liberal views of commer- 
cial policy which had already opened to him in 



the courfe of his own enquiries. His long ri^ady 
dence in one of the moil enlightened mercantir^^f, 
towns in this ifland, and the habits of intimacy^f 
m which he lived with the moft refpeftable of 
its inhabitants, afforded him an opportunity of 
deriving what commercial information he flood 
in need of, from the beft fouyccs ; and it is a cir- 
eumftance no lefs honourable to their liberality 
than to his talents, that notwithftanding the re*- 
lufiance fo common among men of buiinefs to 
liften to the concluiions of mere fpeculation, and 
the direft oppofition of hi$ fading principles to 
all the old maxims of trade, he was able, before 
he quitted his ^tuation in the Vniverfity, to Tzs^lf. 
fome very eminent merchants in the number of 
bis profelytcs *, 

Among the ftudents who attended his ledures, 
and whofe minds were not previoufly warped by 
prejudice, the progrefs of his opinions, it may 
be reafonably fuppofed, was much more rapid. 
It was this clafs of his friends accordingly that 
firft adopted his fyflem with eagerAefs, a,nd dif- 
•&fed a knowledge of its fiindamental principles 
over this part of the kingdom* 

Towards the end of 1763, Mr, Smith receiv- 
ed an invitation from Mr, Ch aisles. To wnsend 
to accompany the Puke of ^uccleugh on his 

travels j 

* I meation this fad on the refpeftable authoritj of Jams$ 
Ritchie, £fq. ^f Glafgow. 

^** AccoirKtr Of the life and 

}vtls ; and the liberal terms in which the pro. 
pofal Was made to him, added to the ftrong de- 
^firc he had felt of vifiting the Continent of Eu- 
rope, induced him to reiign his office at Glafgow. 
With the connexion which he was led to form in 
tonfequence of this change in his iituation, he 
had reafon to be fatisfied in an uncommon degree, 
ind he always fpokc of it with pleafure and gra- 
titude. To the public, it was not perhaps a 
change equally fbrtupate ; as it interrupted that 
ftudious leifure for which nature feems to have de- 
fined him, and in which alone he could have 
lioped to accomplifti thofe literary projefts which 
tad flattered the ambition of his youthful genius, 

The alteratiop, however, which, from this pc-? 
riod, took place in his habits, was not without 
its advantages. He had hitherto lived chiefly 
within the walls of an Univerfity ; and although 
to a mind like his, the obfervation pf human na- 
ture on the fmallefl: fcale is fufficicnt to convey a 
tolerably juft conception of what paiTes on the 
great theatre of the world, yet it is not to be 
doubted, that the variety of fcenes through which 
he afterwards pafled, mufl: have enriched his 
mind with many new ideas, and correfted many 
of thofe mifapprehenfions of life and manners 
which the beft defcriptions of them can fcarcely 
fail to convey. — But whatever were the lights that 
his travels afforded to him as a ftudent of human 
mature, they were probably ufefiil in a ftill great- 
er degree, in enabling him to perfed that fyftem 



of political oeconomy, of which he had already 
delivered the principles in his lefturcs at Glaf- 
gow, and which it was now the leading objeft of 
his ftudics to prepare for the pabUc. The coin- 
cidence between fome of thefe principles and the 
diftinguilhing tenets of the French oecononiifts, 
V^ho were at that very time in the height of their 
reputation, and the intimacy in which he lived 
with fome of the leaders of that fedl, could not 
fail to afiift him in methodising and digefling his 
fpeculations ; while the valuable collection of 
fafts, accumulated by the zealous induftry of their 
numerous adherents, fiirnifhed him with ample 
materials for illuflrating and qonfirming his theo^ 
retical conclufions. 

After leaving Glafgow, Mr. Smith joined the 
Duke of BuccLEUGH at London early in the year 
1764, and fet out with him for the Continent in 
the month of March following. At Dover they 
toet Sir James Macdonalp, who accompanied 
them to Paris, and with whom Mr. Smith laid 
the foundation of a friendlhip, which he always 
mentioned with great fenfibility, and of which 
lie often lamented the ftiort duration. The pane- 
gyrics with which the memory of this accompliih* 
cd and amiable perfon has been honoured by fo 
many diftinguifhed charaders in the different 
countries of Europe, are a proof how well fitted 
bis ulents were to command genejal admiration. 
The efteem in which his abilides and learning 
were held by Mr. Smith, is a teftimony to his 



extraordinary merit of ftill fuperior value. Mr* 
Hume, too, fecms, in this inftance, to have par-, 
taken of his friend's euthufiafm* " Were you 
** and I together, (fays he in a letter to Mr, 
^* Smith) wc Ihould fhed tears at prefent for the 
" death of poor Sir James Macdonald. Wc 
" could not poflibly have fuffered a greater lofs 
" than in that valuable young man,'' 

In this firft vifit to Paris, the Duke of Buc- 
CLEUGH and Mr. Smith employed only ten or 
twelve days*, after which they proceeded to 


* The day after Kis arrival at Paris, Mr. Smith fent a for^ 
mal refignation of his Profefibrihip to the Redlor of the Uni-. 
vcrfity of Glafgow. " I never was more auxious (fays he ia 
** the' conclufion of his letter) for the good of the College, 
*' than at this moment ', and I (incerely wiih, that whoever is 
" my fucceflbr may not only do credit to the office by his abi- 
** lities^ but be a comfort to the very excellent men with whom 
" he is likely to fpend his life, by the probity of bis hearty 
'• and the goodnefs of his temper," * 

The following pxitzA from the records of the Univerfity, 
which follows iminediately after Mr. Smith's letter of refig- 
nation, is at once a teilimony to his afiidui^ as a ProfeiTor, 
and a proof of the juft fenfe which that learned body enter- 
tained of the talents and worth of the colleague they had loft : 

** The meeting accept ofI)r. Smith's refignation, in terms 
" of the above letter, and the office of ProfeiTor of Moral 
•* Philofophy in this Univerfity is therefore hereby declared to 
** be vacant. The Univerfity, at the fame time, cannot help 
*' expreifing their fincere regret at the removal of Dr. Smith, 
.^/ whofe diftinguifhed probity and anoiable qualities procured 

" him 

Thouloufe, where they fixed their rcfidencc for 
eighteen months ; and where, in addition to the 
pleafure of an agreeable fociety, Mr» Smith had 
an opportunity of corre&ing find extending his 
information, concerning the internal policy of 
France, by the intimacy in which he lived with 
fome of the principal perfoixs of the Parliament. 

From Thouloufe they went, by a pretty exten- 
five tour, through the fouth of France to Geneva4 
Here they pafled two months. The late Eavl 
Stanhope, for whofe learning and worth Mr. 
Smith entertained a fincere refpeft, was then an 
inhabitant of that republic. 

About Chriftmas 1765, they returned to Paris, 
and remained there till OAober following. The 
fociety in which Mr. Smith fpent thefe ten 
months, may be conceived from the advantages 
he enjoyed, in confequence of the recommen- 
dations of Mr. HuMK. Turcot, Q^esnai, 


TEL, Madame Riccoboni, were among the num- 

" him the efteem tnd affection of his colleagues ; and whofe 
*' uncommon genius, great abilities, and extenfive learning, 
<' did fo much honour to this fociety ; his elegant and ingeni- 
" ous Theor/ of Moral Sentiments having recommended him 
*' to the efteem of men of tafte and literature throughout £u- 
" rope. His happy talent of illuftrating abftrafted fubjeAs, 
** and faithful afRduity in communicating ufeful knowledge, 
** diftinguifhed him as a Profeifor, and at once afibrded the 
** greateft pleafure and the moft important inllruAion to tht 
^ youth under his care.'* 


ber of his acquaintances ; and fome of them he 
continued ever afterwards to reckon among his 
friends. From Madame d'ANviLLE, the refpeft- 
able mother qf the late excellent and much la-^ 
mented Duke of Rochefoucauld^, he receiv- 

* The following letter^ which has becti vtTj aecidentallj 
preferved, while it fervet as a memorial of Mr. Smith's xbn- 
neAion with the famil/ of Rochefoucauld, is fo exprefiiye 
©f the virtuous and liberal mind of the writer, that I am per- 
fiwded it will ^ve pleafure to the focietj to record it in their 

Parity 3 Mart, 1778- 

•* Le defir de fe rappeller a votre fouvenir, Monficur, 
^uand on a eu Thonneur dp vous connoUrc, doit vous paroitre 
fort naturel ; permettez que nous faifiifions pour cela^ ma 
Mere et moi« I'occafion, d'une edition nouvelle des Maxlmes 
de la Rochefoucauld^ dont nous ptenons la liberte de vous ofiFrir 
un exemplaire. Vous vo/es que nous n'avons point de ran- 
cune, puifque le mal que vous avez dit de lui dans la Theorie 
des Senttmens Moraux^ ne nous emp^che point de vous envoier 
ce mSme ouvrage. II s'en eJl meme fallu de peu que je ne 
liffe encore plus, (iar j'avois eu peut^tre la t6m^rit6 d'entre- 
prendre une traduAion de votre Theorie ; mais comme je vc- 
nois de terminer la premiere panie, j'ai vu paroitre la tra- 
dudion de M. TAbb^ Blavst, et j'ai iti forc^ de renoncer 
au plaifir que j'aurois eu de faire pafier dans ma langue un 
des meiUeurs ouvrages de la v6tre. 

" II auroit bien fallu pour lors cntreprendre une juftifica- 
tion de mon grandpere. Peutetre n'auroit-il pas et6 difficile, 
premierement de I'excufer, en difant, qu'il avoit toujours vu 
les hommes a la Cour, et dans la guerre civile, deux theatres 
fur lef quels Us font certainement plus mauvats quatUeurs ; et en- 
fuite de juilifier par la conduite peifoneUe de I'auteur, les 



ed many atteutions, which he always recolle&ed 
with particular gratitude* 

It is much to be regretted, that he prcferved no 
journal of this very interefting period of bis hif- 

tory ; 

prindpes qui font certainement trop generalifes dans fon our- 
rage. II a pris la partie pour le tout; et parceque les gess 
qu'il avoit eu le plus fous les yeux ^toient animus par tmMwr 
fropre^ il en a fait le mobile g^a6ral de tous les homqies. Au 
refte^ quoique fon ouvrage merite a certains ^gards d'etre 
combattu» il eft cependaat efiimable xn^me pout le £oikI» et 
beaucoup pour la forme. 

** ^etmttttz moi de vous demander, fi nous aurons bkntdt 
une edition complette At^ ouvres de votre illuftre ami JJ. 
Hume ? Nous I'avons fincferement regrett^. 

*' Receves, je vous fupplie, Tezpreffion finc^re de tens les 
fentimens d'eftime et^ d'attachement ayec lefquels j'ai I'hon- 
neurd'^tre, Monfieur, votre tr^s humble et ticsobcifant fer- 


" Le Due de la RocHirorcAULD.** 

Mr. Smith's laft intercoUrfe with this excellent man was in 
the year 1789, when he informed him hj meana of a friend 
who happened to be then at Paris, that in the future editions 
of his Theory the name of RocHsroucAULD (hould be no 
longer clafTed with that of Mandsvillx. In the enlarged 
edition accordingly of that work, publifhed a ihort time be- 
fore his death, he has fuppreflcd his cenfure of the author of 
the Maxtmes ; who feems indeed (however exceptionable many 
«f his principles may be) to have been a£luated, both in his 
life and writings, by motives very different from thofe of 
Mandxville. The real fcope of thefe maxims is placed, I 
think, in a juft light by the ingenious author of the notice pre- 
fixed to the edition of them publiihed at Paris in 177$- 


tory ; and fuch was his averfioa to write Icttci*^, 
that I fcarcely fuppofe any memorial of it cxifts 
in his correfpondence with his fridtids. The 
extent and accuracy of his memory, in which 
he was equalled by few, made it of little confe* 
quence to'himfelf to record in writing what he 
heard or faw; and from his anxiety before his 
death to deflroy all the papers in his pofleilion^ 
he feems to have wiftied, that no materials fhould 
remain for his biographers, but what were fiir- 
niihed by the lading monuments of his genius^ 
and the exemplary worth of his private life. 

The fatisfaftion he enjoyed in the converfatiott 
of Turcot may be eafily imagined. Their opi- 
nions on the moft eifential points of political 
oeconomy were the fame; and they were both 
animated by the fame laeal for the beft interefts 
of mankind. The favourite ftudies, too, of both 
had direded their enquiries to fubjefts on which 
the underftandings of the ableft and the beft in- 
formed are liable to be warped, to a great degree, 
by prejudice and pafiion; and on which, of con- 
fequence, a coincidence of judgment is peculiarly 
gratifying. We are told by one of the biogra- 
phers of TuRGOt, that ^fter his retreat from the 
miniftry, he occupied his leifure in a philofophi- 
cal correfpondence with fome of his old friends; 
and, in particular, that various letters, on impor- 
tant fubjefts, pafled between him and Mr. Smith. 
I take notice of this anecdote chiefly as a proof 
of the intimacy which was underftood to have 




fabfifted between them; for in other refpefts^ 
the anecdote feems to me to be fomewhat doubt- 
fiil. It is fcarccly to be fuppofed, that Mr, 
Smith would deftroy the letters of fuch a cor- 
refpondent as Turcot; and ftill lefs probable, 
that fuch an intercourfe was carried on between 
them without the knowledge of any of Mr. 
Smith's friends. From fome enquiries that have 
been made at Paris by a gentleman of this Society 
fince Mr. Smith's death, I have reafon to believe, 
that no evidence of the correfpondence exifts 
among the papers of M. Turgot, and thait the 
whole ftory has taken its rife from a report fug- 
gefied by the knowledge of their former intima- 
cy. This circumftanpe I think it of importance 
to mention, becaufe a good deal of curiofity has 
been excited by the paflagc in queftion, with re- 
fped to the fate of the fuppofed letters. 

Mr. Smith was alfo well known to M. Qjjes* 
NAi, the profound and original author of the 
(Economical Table; a man (according to Mr. 
Smith's account of him) " of the greateft mo- 
" defty and fimplicity ;" and whofe fyftcm of po- 
lidcal oeconomy he has pronounced, ^' with all 
" its imperfeftions," to be " the neareft approxi- 
" mation to the truth that has yet been publifhed 
" on the principlesof th^t very important fcience." 
If he had not been prevented by Q£esn ai's death, 
Mr. Smith had once an intention (as he told 
me himfelf ) to have infcribed to him hie ^^ Wealth 
« of Nations.'' 

e Ic 


It was not, howcvcT-, merely the diftinguiftied 
liien who, about this peridd fixed fo fpletidid an 
ara in the literary hiftory of France, that excit- 
ed Mr. Smith's curiofity while he remained it 
Paris. His acquaintance with the polite literature 
both of ancient and modern times was extenfive ; 
and amidft his various other occupations, he had 
never negleded to cultivate a tafte for the fine 
arts ;-i^left, it is probable, with a view to the pe- 
culiar enjoyments they convey, (though he was 
by no means without fenfibility to their beauties), 
than on accouht of their conrieftion with the ge- 
neral principles df the human mind ; to an exa- 
mination of which they afford the moft pleafing 
of all avenues. To thofe who fpfcculate on this 
\cfy delicate fubjeft, a comparifoh of the modes 
of uite that prevail among different nations, aS* 
fords a valuable collcAion of fa£ls; and Mr. 
Smith, who was always difpofed to afcribe to 
cufiom and fafhion their foil fhare in regulating 
the opinions of mankind withrefpcdl to beauty, 
inay naturally be fuppdfcd to haVc availed himfelf 
of every opportunity which a foreign country af"- 
fofded him of illuftrating his former theories. 

/ Some of his peculiar notions, tdo, with refped 
to the imitative arts, leem to have been much con- 
firmed by his obfervationi while abroad. In ac- 
counting for the j)leafures we receive from thefe 
arts, it had early occurred to him as a fundamen- 
tal principle, that a very great part of it arifcs 
from the difficulty of the imitation ; a principle 



wjbich was probably fuggefted to him by that of 
the. diffjculte furmonteCy by which fome French 
critics had attempted to explain the efieift of ver- 
fificatioti aild of rhyme*.' This principle' Mr. 
Smith pu(hed to the greateft poflible length, and 
referred to it. With fiilgular ingenuity, a great va- 
riety of phenomena in all the different fine arts. 
It led him, however, to fome conclufictos, which 
appear, at fii-ft view at leaft, not a little paradoxi- 
cal; and I cannot help thinking, that it warped 
Jus judgment in many of the opinions whith he 
was accuftonfied to give on the fubjeft of poetry* 

*rhe principles of dramatici compofition hftd 
tnore particularly attrafted his attention ; and 
the hiftory of the theatre, both in iancient and 
r^odern times, had fiirniftied him with fome of 
the moft remarkable fefts on which his theory of 
the imitative arts was founded. From thi» theory 
it feemed to follow as a confequence, that the 
fame circumftanccS which, in tragedy, give to 
blank verfe an advantage ovci* profe, fliould give 
to rhyme an advantage over blank verfe; and 
Mr. Smith had always inclined to that opinion. 
Nay, he had gone fo far as to extefnd the fame 
dodrine to comedy ; and to regret that thofe ex- 
cellent piftures of life and manners which the 
Englifti ftagc affords, had not been executed after 
the model of the French fchool. The admira- 
tion with which he regarded the great dramatic 
e 2 authors 

* See the Prefac€ to VgiTAinE'a OcJipe^ Edit, of 1739. ^ 


authors of France tended to confirm him m thefe 
opinions; and this admiration (refulting origi- 
nally from the general chara&er of his tafte, 
ivhich delighted more to remark that pliancy of 
genius which accommodates itfelf to eftabliftied 
rules^ than to wonder at the bolder flights of an 
undifciplined imagination) was increafed to a 
great degree, when he faw the beauties that had 
firuck him in the clofet, heightened by the ut- 
moft perfection of theatrical exhibition. In the 
laft years of his life, he fometimes amufed him- 
felf, at a leifure hour, in fupporting his theoreti- 
cal conclufions on thefe fubjcds, by th6 fafts 
ti^hich his fubfcquent ftudies and obfervations had 
fuggefted ; and he intended, if he had lived, to 
have prepared the refult of thefe labours for the 
prefs. Of this work he has left for publication a 
fliort fragment; but he had not proceeded far 
enough to apply his dodrin^ to verfificatipn and 
to the theatre. As his notions, hoWever, with 
refpeSt to thefe were a favourite topic of his con- 
Terfation, and Were intimately conne£ted with 
his general principles of criticifm, it would have 
been im{>roper to pafs them over in this fketch 
of his life ;- and I even thought it proper to detail 
them 3i greater length than the comparative im- 
portance of the fubje6l would have juftified, if 
he had carried hU plans into execution, Whe-^ 
ther his loVe of fyftem, added to his partiality for 
ihe French drama^ may not have led him, in thid 
inilance, to generalize a little too much his con^^ 
clufions, and to overlook ibme peculiarities ia the 



language and verfigcation of that country, I ihall 
pot take upon me to determine. 

In O^ober 1766, thcDu^eof Buccleugh re-f 
turned tq Loudon. His GTrace, to whom I am 
indebted for feveral particulars in the foregoing 
narrative, will, I hope, forgive the liberty I ukc 
ia tranfcribing one paragraph in his own words : 
*' l4 Oftober 1766, we returned tq London, af- 
** ter haying fpent near three years together, with- 
^ out the llighteft difagreement or coolnefs ;•— on 
^ my part, with every advantage that could be 
** expefted from the fociety of fuch a man. We 
" continued to live in friendfhip till the hour of 
^' his death ; and 1 Ihall always remain with the 
** impreflion of having loft a friend whom I loved 
f* and refpe&ed, not only for his great talents, 
** but for every private virtue/* 

The Retirement in which Mr. Smith paflTed 
bis next ten years, formed a ftriking contraft to 
the unfettled mode qf life he had been for fame 
time accuftomed to^ but wa8[ fo congenial to his 
natural difpofition, and to his firft habits, that it 
was with the utmoft difficulty he was ever per- 
fuadcd to leave it. During the whole of this pe- 
riod, (with the exception of a few vifits to Edin- 
burgh and London) he remained with hi§ mother 
at Kirkaldy; occupied habitually ii; intenfe ftudy, 
but unbending his mind at times in the company 
of fome of his old Ichool-fellows, whofe " fpber 
wifhes^' had attached them to the place of ^ their 



birth. In the focicty of fuch men, Mr. Smith 
delighted ; and to them he was endeared, not 
only by hh fimple and unafTuming manners, but 
by th^ perfcdl knowledge they all poffeffed of 
thofe dpmeftic virtues which had diftinguilhcd 
him from his infancy, 

Mr. Hume, who (as he tells us himfelf) conftr 
dered " a, town as the true fcene for a man of let^ 
*' ters," made many attempts to feduce him fronj 
his retirement. In a letter, dated in 1772, hip 
urges .him to pafs fpme tin^ with him in Edin- 
burgh. " I ftiall not take any cj^cnfe from your 
" ftate of health, which I fuppofe only a fubterr 
** .fugc invented by indolence and love of foUr ' 
" tvi4?« Indeed, my dear Smith, if you con.- 
^^ tiuue to hearken tQ complaints of this nature, 
** you will cut yourfelf out entirely from human 
''^ fociety, tp the great Ipfs of bath p^rtiei.'' In 
l^npther letter, dated in 1769, from his houfe in 
James's Court, (which commanded a profpeft of 
^he Frith of Forth, apd of the oppofite coaft of 
Fife) " I am gl^d (fays he) to have come within 
" fight of you ; but as I would alfo be within • 
" fpeaking terms of you, I wifh we could con- 
** cert meafures for that purpofp. I am mortal- 
" ly fick at fea, and regard with horror, and a 
" kind of hydrophobia, the great g\ilph that lies 
^* between us, I am alfo tired pf travelling, as 
" much as you ought naturally to be of flaying at 
" home. I therefpre propofe to you to come hi- 
f* ther, and pafs fomc days with me in this foli- 

" tudc. 


^ tude. I want to know what you have been dq- 
** ing, and propofe to exa6i a rigorous account of 
** the method in which you have employed your- 
** felf during your retreat. I am pofitive you arc 
** in the wrong in many of your fpeculations^ 
** efpecially where you have the misfortune to 
** difier from me. All thefe are reafons for our 
** meeting, and I wifli you would make me fomc 
** iieafonable propofal for that purpofc. There is 
" no habitation in the ifland of Inchl^eith, other- 
^ wife I Ihould challenge you to meet me on that 
" fpot, and neither of us ever to leave the placcj, 
" till we wete fully agreed on all points of con- 
" trpvcrfy. I expedl General Conway here to- 
^ iporrow, whom I fhall attend to Rofeneath, and 
** I ftiall remain there a few days, On my re- 
** turn, I hope to find a letter from yo\j, contain,- 
<' ing a bold acceptance of this defiance.*' 

At length (in the beginning of the year 1776) 
Mr. Smith accounted to the world for his long 
retreat, by the publication of his " Inquiry into 
** the Nature and Caufes of the Wealth of Na- 
" tions/* A letter of congratulation on this event, 
from Mr. Hume, is now before me. It is dated 
ift April 1^76, (about fix months before Mr. 
Hume's death) and difcovers an amiable folici* 
tude about his friend's literary fame. " Euge ! 
" S^//d/. Dear Mr. Smith: I am much pleafed 
" with your performance, and the perufal of it 
*^ has taken me from a ilate of great anxiety. It 
'* was a work of fo much expe&ation, by your- 

« felf. 


*' fclf, by your friends, and by the public, that 
" I trembled for its appearance; but am now 
" much relieved. Not but that the reading of it 
" neceflarily requires fo much attention, and the 
** public is difpofed to give fo little, that I ftiall 
" ftill doubt for fome time of its being at firft 
** very popular. But it has depth and folidity 
" and acutcnefs, and is fo much illuftrated by 
" curious fadls, that it muft at laft ukc the pub- 
" lie attention. It is probably much improved 
« by your laft abode in London. If you were 
" here at my fire-fide, I fliould difputc fome of 

" your principles 

*'..... But thefe, and a hundred other 
" points, are fit only to be difcuffcd in converfa- 
" tion. I hope it will be foon; for I am in ^ 
'< very b^d ftate of health, and cannot afford a 
" long delay." 

Of a book which is now fo univerfajly known 
as " The Weahh of Nations/' it might be cbnfi- 
dered perhaps as fuperfluous to give a particular 
analyfis ; and at any rate, the limits of this eflay 
make it impoflible for me to attempt it at prefent, 
A few remarks, however, on the fubjeii and ten- 
dency of the work, may, I hope, be introduced 
without impropriety. The hiftory of a Philofo- 
pher's life can contain little more than the hifto- 
ry of his fpcculations ; and in the cafe of fuch 
tn author as Mr. Smith, whofe ftudies were 
fyftematically direfled from his youth to fubjeds 
9f the laft importance to human happinefs, a re- 



yie^ of his writings, while it ferves to illuftratc 
the peculiarities of his genius, afford? the moft 
faithful pidure of his character ^t a man. 

S E C T I O N IV. 

^The Inquiry into the Nature and Caufes gf 
the Wealth of Nations *. 

xVn hiftorical review of the different forms un- 
der which human afiair^ have appeared in diffe- 
rent ages and natiops, naturally fuggefls the quef- 
tion. Whether the experience of former timea 
may not now fumilh fome general principles to 
enlighten and direft the policy of future legifla- 
tors? The difcuffion, however, to which this 
quefiion leads is of lingular difficulty ; as it re- 
quires an accurate analyfls of by far the moft 
complicated clafs of phsenomena that can poffi- 
bly engage our attention, thofe which refult from 
the intricate and often the imperceptible roecha-^ 
nifm of political fociety ; — a fubjeft of obferva- 
tion which feems, at firll view, fo little commen- 
furate to our faculties, that it has been generally 


* The length to which this Memoir has alread/ extended, 
together with fome other ^reafons which it is unneceflary to 
mention here, have induced oie, in printing the following 
fedtion, to confine myfelf to a much more general view of the 
fubjed than I once intended* 


regarded with the feme paffive emotions of won- 
der and fubmiffion, with which, in the material 
world, wc furvcy the effefts produced by the my- 
fterious and uncontroulable operation of phyfical 
caufes. It 18 fortunate that upon this, as on niany 
other occafions, the difficulties which had long 
baffled the efforts of folitary genius begin to ap- 
pear left formidable to the united exertions of 
the race; and that in proportion as the experi- 
ence and the reafonings of different individuals 
are brought to bear upon the fame objeds, and 
^e combined i;i f^ch a n^nner as toilluftrate and 
to limit each other, the fisience of politics afTumes 
snore and mqrp that fyftematical form which fa- 
courages and aids the labours of future enquircrjB|i 

In profecuting the fcience of politics on thi3 
plan, little aififtance is to b^ derived from th^ 
fpeculations of ancient philqfophers, the greater 
part of whom, in their political enquiries, con- 
fined their atteation to ^ coi^parifon of different 
forms of government, and to an examination of 
the provifions they made for perpetuating their 
own exiftence, ai^d for extending the glory of th^ 
ftate. It was referved for modern times to invcfti- 
gate thofc univ^rfal principles of juftice and of 
expediency, which ought, under every form of 
government, to regulate the focial order; and of 
which the obje6^ is, to make as equitable a diftri- 
bution as poflible, among all the different menn 
bers of a community, of the advantages arifing 
from the political union. 



The invention of printing was perhaps necef- 
fary to prepare the way for thefe Tcfcarchcs. In 
thofe departments of literature and of fcicncc, 
where genius finds within itfclf the materials o 
its labours ; in poetry, in pure geometry, and i; 
feme branches of moral philofophy ; the ancient 
have not only laid the foundations on which wc 
arc to build, but have left great and finifhcd ma 
dels for our iinitation. But in phyfics, where our 
progrefs depends on ani immenfe coUeftion o^ 
fa<fts, and on a combination of the accidental 
lights daily ftruck out in the innumerable walks 
of obfcrvation and experiment ; and in politics, 
where the materials of our theories are equally 
(tattered, and are coUeAcd and arranged with 
ftill greater difficulty, the means of communica- 
tioji afforded by the prefs have, in the courfe of 
two centuries, accelerated the progrefs of the hu- 
man mind, far beyond what the moft fanguine 
hopes of our predeceObrs could hay? imagined. 

The progrefs already pnade in this icience, in. 
confidcrable as it is in comparifon of what may 
be yet expefted, has been fufficient to ftiew, 
that the happinefs of mankind depends, not on 
the fhare which the people pofTefTes, direftly Or 
indiredly, in the enaftment pf laws, but on the 
equity and expediency of the lav;s that are en- 
aSed. The fhare which the people poffefTcs in 
the government is interefting chiefly to the fmall 
number of men whofe obje£l is the attainment of 
political importance; but the equity and expe- 


diency of the laws are interefting to every mem- 
t)cr of the community : and more efpecially to 
thofe whofe perfonal infignificance leaves them no 
encouragement, but what they derive from the ge- 
neral fpirit of the government under which they 

It is evident, therefore, that the mod important 
l^ranch of political fcience is that which has for 
its objeft to afcertain the philqfpphical principles 
of jurifprudence; or (as Mr. Smith exprpfTes it) 
to afcertain '^ the general principles whicli ought 
** to run through and be thp foundation of the 
" laws qf all nations *." In countries, where the 
prejudices of th^ pepple are widely at variance 
with thefe principles, the political liberty which 
the coiiilitution beftows, only furnifhes them with 
the means of ^ccomplifhing their own ruin ; And 
if it were poflible to fuppofe thf fe principles com- 
pletely realized in aiiy fyftem of laws, the people 
would have little reafon to complain, that they 
were not immediately inftru omental in their enaft- 
incnt. The only infallible criterion of the excel- 
lence of any conftitution is to be found in the 
detail of its municipal code ; and the value which 
wife men fet on political freedom, arifes chiefly 
from the facility it is fuppofed to afford, for the 
introduftion of thofe legiflative improvements 
which the general interefts of the community 
recommend. — I cannot help adding, that the ca- 

• Sec the conclufion of his Theory of Moral Sentiments. 


pacity of a people to cxercifc political rights with 
utility to themfelves and to their country, pre- 
fuppofes a diffiifion of knowledge and of good 
morals, which can only refult from the previous 
operation of laws favourable to induftry, to order, 
and to freedom. 

Of the truth of thefe remarks, enlightened p6* 
liticians feem now to be in general convinced; 
for the moft celebrated works which have been 
produced in the different countries of Europe, 
during the laft thirty years, by Smith, Qjjesn ai, 
Turcot, Campomanes, Beccaria, and others, 
have aimed at the improvement of fociety, — not 
by delineating plans of new conftitutions, but by 
enlightening the policy of aftual legiflatori. — 
Such fpeculations, while they are more eflential- 
ly and more extenfively ufeful than any others, 
have no tendency to unhinge eftablifli^ inftitu- 
tions, or to inflame the paflions of the multitude. 
The improvements they recommend are to be ef- 
fefted by means too gradual and flow in their 
operation, to warm the imaginations of any but 
of the fpecuUtive few ; and in proportion as they 
arc adopted, they confolidate the political fabric, 
and enlarge the bafis upon which it refts. 

To dircft the policy of nations with refpedi to 
one moft important clafs of its laws, thofe which 
form its fyftem of political (Economy, is the great 
aim of Mr. Smith's Inquiry : And he has un- 
queftionably had the merit of prefenting to the 



world, rhe moft C0mprehcnfiv€ and perfe<a.woik 
that has yet appeaiisd, oa the general principles 
of any branch of legiflation. The example which 
he has fet will be followed, it is to be hoped, in 
due time, by other writers, for whom the iuter- 
nal policy of ftatcs furnifhes many other fubjcfls 
of difcuflion no lefs curious and interef^ing ; and 
may accelerate the progrefs of that fcience wbieh 
Lord Bacon has fo well defcribed in the fol- 
lowing paflage i " Finis ct fcopu^ quern leges in- 
** tueri, atque ad quern juiliones et fandiones fuas 
*' dirigere debent, non alius eft, quam ut cives 
" feliciter degant: id fiet, ii pietate et religione 
" rede inftituti; moribus honefti ; armis adverfus 
' ** hoftes externos tuti; legum auxilia adverfus fe- 
^* ditiones et privatas injurias muniti; imperio^t 
*^ magiftratibus obfequentes; copiis et opibu^lo- 

" cupletes et florentes fuerint. Certe cognitio 

^^ ifta ad\iros civiles proprie ipe6bt; qui optima 
'/ norunt, quid ferat focietas humana, quid fains 
'' populi, quid squitas naturalis, quid gentium 
*' mores, quid rerumpublicarum formae diverfs : 
" ideoque poflint de legibus, ex principiis et prae- 
** ceptis tarn sequitatis naturalis, quam politices 
^' decernere. Qjiamobrem id nunc agatur, ut 
'^ fontes juftitise et utilitatis publicse petantur, et 
" in fmgulis juris partibus charadler quidam et 
f^ idea jufti exhibeatur, ad quam particularium 
" r^gnorum et rerumpublicarum leges probare, I 
f* atque inde emendationcm nioliri, quifquc, cui i 
f^ hoc cordi erit et curse, poflit." The cnumera- ' 
tion contained in the foregoing pafTage, of the dif- | 

fcrcnt I 


ferent objeds of law, coincides very nearly with 
that given by Mr. Smith in the conclufion of 
his Theory of Moral Sentiments ; and the precife 
aim of the political fpeculations which he then 
announced, and of which he afterwards publiih* 
cd fo valuable a part in his Weahh of Nations, 
was to afcertain the general principles of juftiee 
and of expediency, which ought to guide the in- 
ftitutions of legiflators on thei'e important articles; 
—in the words of Lord Bacon, to afcertain thof6 
ieges hguniy " ex quibus informatio peti poiIit> 
** quid in fingulis legibus bene aut perperam po- 
•^ fitum aut conilitutum fit." 

The branch' of legiflation which Mr. Smith 
has made choice of as the fubje£l of his work, 
-liatarally leads me to remark a very ftriking con*- 
trail between the fpirit of ancient and of modern 
policy in refpeft to the Wealth of Nations*. 
The great objeft of the former was to -counteraft 
the love of money and a tafte for luxury, by po- 
iitive inftitutions; and to maintain in the great 
body of the people, habits of frugality, and a fc^ 
verity of manners. The decline of ftates is uni- 
formly afcribed by the philofophers and hifto- 
rians, both of Greece and Rome, to the influence 
of riches on national charafler ; and the laws of 
Lycurgus, which, during a courfe of ages, ba- 
nifhed the precious metals from Sparta, are pro- 


* Sdence de la Le^flation^ par le Chev. Filangikki, 
Liv. L chap. 13. 

Ixxtviii ACc6uNt Ot THE LIEE AND 

pofed by many of them as the tnoft pferfe6l model 
of legiflatiori devifed by humail wifdomt — ^How 
dppofite to this is the do&rine of modern politi- 
cians ! Far from confidering poverty as an advan- 
tage to a ftate> their great aim is to open newr 
fource^ of iiational opuleilce, and to animate the 
aftivity of all clafTes of the people by a tafte for 
the comforts and accotnmodations of life. 

One principal caufe of this difference between 
the fpirit of ancient and of modern policy, may 
be found in the difference between the fources of 
' national wealth in ancient and in modern times. 
In ages when commerce and manufa£lures were 
yet in their infancy, and among ftates conftituted 
like moft of the ancient republics, a fudden in- 
flux of riches from abroad was juftly dreaded as 
an evil, alarming to the morals, to the induftry, 
and to the freedom of a people. So different, 
however, is the cafe at prefent, that the moft 
Wealthy nations are thofe where the people are 
the moft laborious, and where they enjoy the 
greateft degree of liberty. Nay, it was the gene- 
ral diffufion of wealth among the lower orders 
of men, which firft gave birth to the fpirit of in- 
dependence in modern Europe, and which has 
produced under fome of its governments, and 
efpecially under our own, a more equal diffufion 
of freedom and of happinefs than took place 
under the moft celebrated conftitutions of an- 



"Without this diffufiou of wealth among the 
lower orderS) the importaut eflFeds rcfulting from 
the iavention of printing would have been ex- 
tremely limited 5 for a certain degree of cafe and 
iadependence is neceffary to infpire men with the 
delire tof knowledge, and to aflford them the lei- 
furc which is requifite for acquiring it ; and it is 
only by the rewards which fuch a ftate of fociety 
iholds up to induftry and ambition, that the fel- 
£{h paflions of the multitude can be interefted in. 
the intelledual improvement of their children. 
The exten£ve propagation of light and refinement 
arifing from the influence of the prefs, aided by 
the ipirit of commerce, feems to be the remedy 
provided by nature, againll the fatal efie£ls which 
would otherwife be produced, by the fubdiviiioa 
of labour accompanying the progrefs of the me- 
chanical ans : Nor is any thing wanting to make 
the remedy effedual, but wife inftitutions to faci- 
litate general inftrudion, and to adapt the educa- 
tion of individuals to the ftations they are to oc- 
cupy* The mind of the artift, which, from the 
limited fphere of his a&ivity, would iink below 
the level of the peafant or the favage, might re- 
ceive in infancy the means of intelleftual enjoy- 
ment, and the feeds of moral improvement ; and 
even the infipid uniformity of his profeflional en- 
gagements, by prefenting no objcft to awaken 
his ingenuity or to diftrad his attention, might 
leave him at liberty to employ his faculties, on 
fubjedis more intereiling to himfelf, and more ex- 
ten£vely ufeful to others. 

f Thcfe 

it Acdoimf OF THE life And 

Thcfc cffefts, notwithftanding & variety of op- 
pofing caufes which ftill ciift, have already tc- 
fulted, in a very fenfibte degree, frmn the liberal 
policy of modern times. Mr. Hume, in his Ef- 
fay on G>mmerce, after taking notice of the nu- 
merous armies raifed and maintained by the 
fmall republics in the ancient world, aiferibe^ the 
Inilitary power of thefe ftates to theit want of com- 
merce aftd lojfcury. '* Few artifans Were itoin- 
'• uined by the latx)ur of the farmers, and therc- 
^ fore more foldiers might live upon it.^' He 
adds, however, that ^ the policy of anfeicnt times 
^ was vioi/ENT, and contrary to the natUrajd 
^ courfe of things f — ^by which, I prefame, he 
tneans, that it aimed tod much at modifying, by 
<he force (rf pofitive inftitutions, theord^r of i<>- 
ciety, according to fome preconceived idea of ex- 
pediency; without trufting fuffieiently to thofe 
principles of the human conftitution, which, 
Wherever they arc allowed free fcope, not only 
conduft mankind to happinefs, but lay thi fimA- 
dation of a progreffive improvement in their con- 
dition and in their charafler. The advantages 
which modem' policy poffefled over the ancient, 
arife principally from its conformity, in fome of 
the moft important articles of political o6conomy> 
to an order of things recommended by Mature; 
and it would not be difficult to fhew, that where 
it remains imptfrfedi its errors may be traced to 
the reftfaintsit impofes on the namral courfe of 
Ihuman a&irs; Indeed,* in thefe reilraints may 
be difcovered the latent feeds of many of the pre-* 

• judices 

WRITIN6g Of DR. SMI'TH^ »cl 

juctices aiid follies which infe& modern mannrts, 
fand which have fo long bid defiance to the rea- 
foningg of the philofopher and the ridicule of the 

The foregoing very itnperfeft hints appeared 
to mc to form, not only a proper, but in fome 
meafnre a necel&ry introdudion to the few re- 
marks I have to offer on Mr. Smith's Inquiry ; 
as they tend to illuftratc a connexion between hid 
fyftcm of commercial politics, and thofe fpecula- 
tions of his earlier years, in which he aimed 
more pro&fiedly at the advancement of human 
improvement and happinefs. It is this view of 
political oeconomy that can alone render it inte- 
hefting to the moralift, and can dignify calcula- 
tions of profit and lofs in the eye of the philofo- 
pher. Mr. Smith has alluded to it in various . 
pallages of his work, but he has no where ex- 
plained himfclf fully on the fubjeft; and the 
great ftrcft he has laid on the effcds of the divi- 
fion of labour in increafing its produ£live powers, * 
feems, at firft fight, to point to a different and 
very melancholy conclufion ;— — that the fame 
eaufes which promote the progrefs of the arts, 
tend to degrade the mind of the artift ; and, of 
confequence, that the growth t)f national wealth 
implies a facrifice of the charadler of the people. 

The fundamental doflrincs of Mr. Smith^A 

fyftem are now fo generally known, that it wouW 

have been tedious to offer any recapitulation of 

f z them 


thetti in this place ; even if I could have hopea 
tp do juftice to the fubje<a, within the limits which 
I have prcfcribed to myfelf at pjfefem. A diftinfit 
analyfis of his work might indeed be ufcfiil t6 
inany readers ; but it would itfelf form a volume 
^f coniiderable magnitude. I may perhaps^ at 
ibtne future periddi prefent to the Society, an at- 
tempt towards fuch an analyfis, which I began 
long ago, for my own latisfadion, and which I 
lately made confiderable progrefs in preparing for 
the prefs, before I wa6 aware of the impoffibility 
of conne&ing it, with the general plan of this 
paper. In the mean time^ I {hall Content myfelf 
with remarking, that the great alxd leading obje£l 
of Mr. Smith's fpeculations is to illuftrate the 
provifion made by nature in the principles of the 
human mind, and in the circumftances of man's 
external fituation, for a gradual and progrei&ve 
augmentation in the means of national wealth; 
and to demonflrate, that the moil effedlual plan 
for advancing a people to gre&tnefs, is to main- 
uin that order of things which nature has point- 
ed out; by allowing every man, as long as he 
obferves the rules of juftice, to purfue his own in- 
tereft in his own \Vay, and to bring both his in- 
duftry and his capital into the freeft eompetition 
with thofc of his fellow-citizens. Every fyftcm 
of policy which endeavours, either by extraordi-r 
nary encouragements, to draw towards a particu- 
lar fpecies p£ induftry a greater ftiare of the capi- 
tal of the fociety than what would naturally gd 
to it; or, by extraordinary reftraints, to force 



$^dm a particular fpeciea of induftry fome fliaie 
of the capital which would otherwife be employ- 
ed in it, is, ia reality, fubverfive of the great puii- 
pofi; which it iqean^ tq promote. 

What the circumftances are, which, in modem 
Europe, have contributed to difturb this order of 
pature, and, in particular, to encourage the in- 
duftry qf tQwns, at the expeuce of that of the 
country, ^r. Smit^ ha9 inveftigated with great 
ingenuity; and i& Aich a manner^ as to throw 
piuch new light on the hiftory pf that ftate of fd- 
f iety which prevails in this quarter of the globe. 
His obfervations on this fubjc& tend to fhew, that 
thefe c^sciitnftances were, in their firft origin, the 
natural and the unavoidable refult of the peculiar 
fituation of mankind during a certain period; 
and that they took their rife, not from any gene- 
ral fcheme of policy, but from the private ime^. 
X^s and pr^udipejs cif particuls|tr orders ^f inexu 

The ftat^ ojf fctciety, however, wUch at firft 
arofe from Zi fingular conibiiution of accidents^ 
has been prolonged much beyond its natural pe* 
Tiod, by a f^lfe fyft^m of {)olitical ceconomy, 
propagated by merchants and manu&Aurers ; % 
clafs of individuaU, whoib intereft is not always 
the fame with that of the public, and whofe pro- 
fei&o,nal knowledge gave them many advantages, 
more particularly in the infapcy of this branch of 
jcience, in defending thpfe opinions which they 
wiQied to encourage. By means of this fyftem, 



a Dew fet of obftacles to the progtefs of national 
prt^perity has been created. Thoife which arofe 
from the diforders of (he feudal ages, tended di- 
rcdUy to dilhirb the internal arrangements of fo- 
cicty, by obftrudling the free circulation of labour 
"^ and of ftock, from employment to employment, 
and from place to place. The falfe fyftem of po- 
litical oecoBLomy which has been hitherto preva- 
lent, as its pro&fied object has been to regalate 
the commercial intercourfe between difie^ent iia- 
tionsji has produceid its effed in a way lefs dire6^ 
and lefs manifeft, but equally prejudicial to the 
flates that have adopted itt 

On this fyftem, as it took its rife from the 
prejudices, or rather from the interefted views of 
mercantik fpecuiators, Mr, Smith bellows the 
tide of the Commercial or Mercantile Syftem; 
and he has confidered at great length its two prin-< 
cipd expedients for enriching a nation ; r^raints 
upon importation, and encouragements to expor-* 
tation* Part of thefe expedients, he obferves, 
have been di&ated by the fpirit of monopoly, 
and part by & fpirit of jealoufy againft thofe coun-r - 
tries with which the balance of trade is fuppof- 
cd to be diiadvantageous. AH of them appear 
clearly, from his re^ibnings, to have a tendency 
unfavourable to tlxe weahh of the nation which 
impofes them.-^His remarks with Ytfpt6k to the 
jealoufy, of commerce are exprefled in a tone of 
indignadon, which he^feldom aflume$ in his po» 
jitical writings, 

« la 

^ In this mauuer (%s he) the Ix^eakii^ arts qf 
^ middling tr§def(pea are ere^led |ato political 
^* maspms for the cq^^iduflk of a great enipirer Bjr 
^' fuch maxima jif tfaefe, nations have beea taoghi^ 
^ that their imereft coniifted ixi beggaring aU 
^* their aeighboqrs. Each ]iatiQ4 has been mad^ 
f* to look with aA invidious eye upon thp profpe- 
*^ rity of ^U the nationa yi\ih which it tiadea^ 
^^ and to copiider their gain aa itf owi^ lofs. 
^ Comper<:e^ which ought n^tally to be among 
^ nations a^ amoi^g indiyidualf, ^^ bond qf unio^i 
t^ and friendihip> has become the moil fertile 
^ fonrce of difcqrd ai^d aiiimQ:^ty. Thjp caprir 
5^ cious ambitiqfi of Kii^gs and Miiiifter^ has not, 
^' during (hs prp^^ and the pi:ecedi2)g century, . 
^ been more iittal to \\if repofe qf ^urppe, thai^ 
^ tlie imper^ne4t js^Qufy pf inerchaatu and ma* 
^ niiia3wer9. The violei^ce and inji^ftice of the 
^ jrulers qf mankind is an anciezit evil, for which 
^< perhaps the fiamre of buin|(4 affaif « can fcarce 
^ admit of a reniedy. J^ut the wan r:y>acity, 
f' the monopolizing fpirif qf iperchapts and ma^ 
'' nu£Eidurers, wl^q pcith^ir i(re nor ought p be 
'' the rulers of mankind, fhough it cannot per- 
♦* haps be correi^ed, may very cafily bfipreventr 
<^ ed fropi difturbing the tnuiquillity of any bqdv 
<* hut thcmfelves.'* 

Such are the Hberal prijotciples w^iich, a^i^qr^. 
ing to Mr. Smith, ought to dire& the commer- 
cial policy of nation^; and of which it qught to 
i^ the great objedl of legiflatofs to ^ciliute the 



eftablifhmcnt. In what manner the execution of 
the theory (hould be conduced in particular in- 
ilances, is a queflion of a verjr different nature, 
and to which the anfwer muft vary, in different 
countries, according to the diflferent circumftances 
of the cafe. In a fpeculative work, fuch as Mn 
Smith's, the confideration of this queftion did 
not fall properly under his general plan ; but that 
he was abundantly aware of the danger to be ap- 
prehended from a ralh application of political 
theories, appears not only from the general drain 
of his writings, but from fome incidental obfer- 
vations which he has exprefsly made upon the 
fubjeft. " So unfortunate (fays he, in one pafc 
*' fage) are the effeds of all the regulations of the 
*** mercantile f3fftcm, that they not only i&tr6- 
** duce very dangerous diforders into the ftate of 
" the body politic, but diforders which it is often 
" difficult to remedy, without occafioning, for a 
" time at Icaft, ftill .greater diforders. — ^In what 
" manner, therefore, the natural fyftem of per- 
" fcft liberty and juftice ought gradually to be 
** reftorcd, we mull leave to the wifdom of future 
" ftatefmen and legiflators to determine/' In the 
laft edition of his Theory of Moral Sentiments, 
he has introduced fome remarks, which have an 
obvious reference to the fame important doctrine. 
The following paflage feems to refer more parti- 
cularly to thofe derangements of the focial order, 
which derived their Origin ftom the feudal infti-* 



^ The man whofe public fpirit is prompted air 
^' t<^thf:r by huinanity and benevolence, will 
" refped the ^ftab}ilhed powers and privileges 
** even of individuals, and ftiU more pf the great 
" orders and focieties into whiph the ftate is di^ 
" vided« Though he Ihould confidcr fome of 
*^ them as in fome meafure abuilve, he will con* 
" tern himfelf with moderating, what he often 
<* cannot annihilate without great violence.— r 
** When he cannot conquer the rooted prejudiced 
" of the people by rpafon and perfuafion, he will 
•f not attempt to fubdup them by force ; but will 
*5 religtouily obferve lyhat, by Cicero, is juftly 
^^ called the divine maxim of Plato, never to 
5< ufe violence to his fow^ry no more than to his 
^^ parents. He will accommodate, as well as he 
^ can, his public arrangement^ to the confirmed 
f^ habits and prejudice^ of the people ; and he 
** will remedy, as well as he can, the inconve- 
** niencies which m^y flow; ff om the w^nt of thofc 
^ regulations which the people are averfe to (ub- 
*' mit to. When he cannot eftablilh the right, 
" he will not difdain to ameliorate the wrong; 
*' but like Solon, when he cannot eftablilh the 
** beft fyftem of laws, he will endeavour to efta^i. 
^ bliib the beft that the people can bear/' 

Thefe cautions with refpe^ to the pradical ap.« 
plicadon of general principles were peculiarly 
neceftary from the Author of " The Wealth of 
*' Nations ;" as the unUmited freedom of trade, 
which it is the chief aim of his work to recom- 


mend, is extremely apt, by flattering the indo* 
lence of the ftatefman, tq fuggeft to thofe who are 
invefted with at)folutQ power, the idfa of pany- 
ing it intQ immediate execution, " Nothing is 
*' more adverfe to the tranquillity of a ftatclinan 
^ (fays the author of aci Elogc on the Admini- 
** ft ration of Colbert) than a fpirit of inodera- 
** tion; becaufe it condemns \i\m to perpetual 
!' obfervation, fhew$ him every moxnent the in- 
" fufficiency of his wifdom, and leaves him the 
f melancholy fenfe of his own imperfe£Uon ; 
^ while, under the ftidter of a few general prin- 
^* ciples, a fyftcmatical politician enjoys a pcrpe- 
^* tual calm. By the help of one alone, that of 
** a perfcd liberty of tracie, he would govern the 
*^ Worid, ai^d WQuld leave huiqaii afikir^ to afw 
** range themfelves at plcafur^s, under the opera* 
*^ tion of the prejudices and the felf-int^rcft of 
^* individuals. If thefe run counter to each other, 
*' he gives himfelf no anxiety fibout the confe- 
** quence ; he infifts that the refult cannot be 
*' judged of tin aftw a century w two fhall have 
" elapfed. If his contemporaries, in confequence 
** of the diforder into which he has. thrown pub- 
" lie aflfairs, arc fcnipulous about ful^ttingquiet« 
" ly to the experiment, he. accufes them of im- 
** patience. Th^y alone, and not he^ arc to. 
^"^ blame for what they have fufFered; and the 
" principle continues to be inculcated with the 
" fame zeal and the fame confidence as before/' 
Thefe are the words of the ingenious and eloquent 
iiuthor of the Elogc on Cox wrt, which obtain- 


td ^e piize from the French Academy in th« 
yeair 1763;' a performance which, although con-i 
fined and erroneous in its fpeculative views, 
abounds with jtift and important reflcft^ons of 9, 
pradical nature. How far his remarks apply tot 
that particular clafs of politicians whom he had 
evidently in his eye in the foreg[oing paflage, I 
ihali not prefume to decide. 

It is hardly ^eceflary f^r m^ to add to thef^ 
obfervaticms, that they do net detra£t in the leaft 
from the value of thofe political theories which 
attempt to delineate the principles of a perfe^ 
legiflaiion. Such theories (as I have elfewhere 
obferved*) ought to b^ cosifidenpd merely as de- 
fcriptions of the ultimate objeds at which the 
ftatefman ought to aioi. The tranquillity of his 
adminiftration, and the immediate fuccefs of his 
cmfores, depend on his good fenie and his prac- 
tical (kill; aftd his theoretical principles only 
enable him to diredl his meafures fieadily and 
wifely, to promote the improvement aiia happi- 
nefs of mankind, and prevent him from being 
ever led aftray from tbe& important ends, "^ by 
more limited views of temporary expedience.—^ 
" In all cafes (fays Mr. Hume) it muft be ad van- 
^ tageous to know what is moft perfe^l in the 
** kind, that we may be able to bring any real 
•* conftitution or form of government as near U 
^ as pofiible, by fuch gentle alterations and in« 

" novations 

* Elementsof the Philofophj of the Human Mmd, p. 261. 


f* npvations as may not give too great difturbanc^ 
^\ to focicty," 

The limits of this Meraoiy ipakc k impoflible 
for me to examiac particularly the merit of Mr, 
Smith's work in point of originality. That his 
doftrinc concerning the freedom of trade and o;f 
induftry coincides remarkably with that which ^e 
find in the writings of the French Oeconomifts, 
appears from thq Qig]^ vi^vf* of th^ir fyftem which 
he himfelf baa given, But it furcly cannot be prcr 
tended by the wgrp:eft admirers of that fyfteiQ, 
that any pn^ of its nu^ierou^ expofitors has ap- 
proached to Mr, S^iT^ in the precifiq^ and per- 
fpicuity with which he has Aated it, or i^ the fci- 
entific and lun^inpus manner in whi^h he has de- 
duced it from elementary principles. The awk- 
wardnefs of their technical language, and the pa- 
radoxical form in which they have chofen to pre- 
fent fome qf th^ir opinionsb ar^ acknowledged 
even by thofe who are moft willing to. do jufticc 
to their merits ; whereas it may be doubted with 
refpeft to Mr, Smith's Inquiry, if there exifts 
^ny book beyond the circle of the mathematical 
.and phyfical fciences, which is at once fo agreea- 
ble in its arrangement to the rulesof afouQ^d logic, 
and fo apceflible to the examination of ordinary 
readers. Abftra&ing entirely from, the author's 
peculiar and original fpeculations, I do not know, 
that upon any fubjedl whatever, a work has been 
produced in our times, containing fo methodical, 
$b comprehenfive, and fo judicious a digeft of all 


WAitiNcJs o^ DR. sMrra. , d 

the moft profound and enlightened philofophy of 
the age. 

In joftice alfo to Mr. Smith, it muftbe obferv-' 
ed, that although foine of the oeconomical writers 
had the ftart of him in publiihing their doflrines to 
the world, thefe doctrines appear, with refpeft to 
him, to have becnaltc^cther original, and the rc- 
fult of his own reflexions. Of this, I think, every 
peribn muft be convinced, who reads the inquiry 
with due attention, and is at pains to examine the 
gradoal and beautiful progrefs of the author'^ 
ideas : But in cafe any doubt fhould remain on 
this bead, it maybe proper to mention, that Mr. 
Smith's political le<Stures, comprehending th© 
fundamental principles of his Inquiry, were deli- 
vered at Glafgow ad early as the year 1752 or 
1753; at a period, furcly, when there cxtfted no 
French perfbrmanoe on the fubjedl, that could be 
of much ufe to him in guiding his refearches *. In 
iheye^r 1756, indeed, M. Turcot (who is faid 
. to have imbibed his firft notions concerning the 
unlimited freedom of commerce from an old 
merchant, M. Gournay) publifhed in the Ency^ 
clopidie^ an article which fufficiently ftiews how 
completely his mind was emancipated from the 


* In proof of tKis, it is fufficient for me to appeal to « a 
fliort hiftorj of the progrefs of political oeconom/ in France, 
publifhed in one of the volumes of Ephtmerida du C'ttoyen. 
See the firft part of the volume for the /ear 1769. The pa« 
per is entitled, Notice abregee det different Ecrits modernet, qui 
wt CQflcouru $n France a former lajcience de Peconomie foBtique. 


old prejudices in &voar of commercial regulations ! 
But that even theti, thefe opinions were confined 
to a few fpeculatiyc men in France, appears froni 
a paiTage iii the Mimoirts fur la Vie et les Otmra" 
ges de M. Turgot ; itx which, after a ilibrt quo- 
tation* from the article juft mentioned^ the author 
adds : ^' Thefe ideas were tHen ^oHfideted as para- 
'* doxical ; they are fince become common, and 
** they will one .day b« adopted univerfally.'*' 

The Political I>ifcourfe^ of Mr. Hume; were evi- 
dently of greater ufe to Mr. SviiB, than any 
iithet book that had appeared prior to his ledlores. 
Even Mrl Hume's theories, Ijowever, though al- 
ways, plauiible and ingeii^ioiis, and in iiidft in- 
ilances profound and juft, inyolve fonle iiinda* 
mental miflakes; and, when coifipared with Mr; 
Ss^itH's, afford a ftriking proof, that, in confix 
dering a {iibje6l fo extenfive and fo complicated, 
ihe moil penetrating fagacity, if direded only to 
particular queflions, is apt to be led aftray by firft 
appearances ; and that nothing can guard us effec- 
tually againft error, but a comprehenfive furvey 
of the whole field of difcuffion, afflfted by an ac-* 
curate and patient analyfis of the ideas about 
which our reafoniags are employed.^^It may be 
worth while to add, that Mr, Hume's Eflay " on 
the Jealoufy of Trade/' with fomc other of his 
Political Difcourfcs, received a very flattering 
proofofM.TuRGOT^s approbation, by his under- 
taking the tafk of tranflating tbem into the French 


tVilllNGS OF DR. SMhra cUl. 

1 am kware that the evidence I have hitherto 
prodticed of Mr» Smithes otiginality may be ob- 
jeded to a^ not pcrfedly decifiVe, is it refts en- 
tirely on the recoUefiion of thofd ftudents who 
attended his liril courfes df moral philofophy at 
Olalgow; a recolledion which, ^t the diflance ol* 
forty yeari, cannot be fnppofed to be yery accu« 
rate- There exifts, however, fortunately, a fhort 
iBaaufeript drawn up by Mr. StitiTH in the year 
^755* ftEL<^ prcfented by him to a fociety of which 
he was a member ; iii which paper, a pretty long 
tanmeratioli is given of certain kading principles^ 
both political and literary, to ^^hich he was anx- 
ious to eftablifli his exclufivc right ; in order to 
prevent the poflibility of fome rival claims which 
ht thought he had reafon to apprehend, and to 
which his iituation as a ProfefTor, added to his un- 
fdferved comnmnications in private companies, 
rendered him peculiarly liable. This paper is at 
prefeiit iri my pbfTefiion. It is expreffed with a 
good deal of that honeft and indignant warmtl^ 
which is perhaps unavoidable by a man who is 
C(Afeioui^ of the purity of his own intentions, 
when he fufpefls; that advantages have been taken 
of the franknefia^ of his temper. On fuch occaii* 
6n% due allowances are not always made for thofe 
plagiarifms which^ however cruel in their effefts^ 
do not neceflarily imply bad faith in thofe who 
are guilty of them ; for the bulk of mankind, in* 
capable themfelves of original thought, are per- 
fectly unable to form a conception of the nature of 
the i^jttf y done to a man of inventive genius, by 



encroaching on a favourite fpeculation. For i^ca- 
fons known to fome members of this Society, it 
would be improper, by the publication of this 
inanufcript, to revive the memory of private dif- 
jFcreuces ; and I ftiould not have even alluded to it^ 
if I did not think it a valuable document of the 
progrefs of Mr. Smith's political ideas at a very 
early period. Many of the moft important opi- 
nions in The Wealth of Nations are there detailed; 
but I fhall quote only the following fentenccs: 
** Man is generally confidered by ftatefmen and 
^ projedors as the materials of a fort of political 
** mechanics. Projeftors difturb nature in thd 
" courfc of her operations in human affairs ; and 
" it requires no more than to let her alone, and 
" give her fair play in the purfuitof her ends, that 
** fhe may eftablifh her own defigns." — ^And in 
another paffage : " Little elfe is requifite to carry 
" a ftate to the higheft degree of opulence from 
** the loweft barbarifm, but peace, eafy taxes, 
** and a tolerable adminiftration of juftice ; all the 
" reft being brought about by the naturil courfe of 
** things. All governments which thwart this na- 
*^ tural courfe, which force things into another 
** channel, or which endeavour to arreft the pro- 
** grefs of fociety at a particular point, are unna- 
^' tural, and to fupport themfelves are obliged to 
" be oppreffive and tyrannical.— —A great part of 
" the opinions (he obferves) enumerated in this 
/* paper is treated of at length in fome Icftures 
" which I have ftill by me, and which were writ- 
'.* t^n in the hand of a clerk who left my ferVicc 



" fix ye^ra ago. They have all of them been the 
** cohftant fubjeds of my Icdures fince I firft 
"taught Mr. Craigie's clafs, the firft winter I 
" fpent in Gla%ow^ down- to this day, without 
" any coqfiderable variation. They had all of 
" them been the fubjeds of lediures which I read 
"at Edinburgh the winter before I left it, and I 
" can adduce innumerable witneffes, both from 
" that place and from this, who will afcertaiu 
" them fuffieiendy to be mine*'* 

After all, perhaps the merit of fuch k work as 
Mr. Smith's is to be eftimated lefs from the no- 
velty of the principles it contains, than from the 
rcafonings employed to fupport thefe principles, 
and from the fcientific manner in which they are 
tinfolded in their proper order and conne<Sion* 
General affertions with refpeft to the advantages 
of a free commerce, may be collefted from vari- 
ous writers of an early date. But in queftions of 
fo complicated a nature as occur in , political oeco- 
nomy, the credit of fuch opinions belongs of right 
to the author who firft eftabliftied their folidity, 
and followed them out to their remote confequenc- 
a$; not to him who, by a fortunate accident, firft 
ftumbleJ on the truth. 

Befides the principles which Mr. Smith con- 
fidered as more peculiarly his own, his Inquiry 
exhibits a fyftematical view of the moft important 
articles of political oeconomy, fo as to ferve the 
purpofe of an elementary treatife on that very e^c- 
g tenfive 

94 AeCOOWT OF ifHt Liftfc Af«> 

tenfir^ and difficult fcieacc- The ikiH and the 
eooiprehenftvenefs of mmd difpiayed in hisar-* 
rangaRient, <:an be judged of by thafc aloaac who 
hftye oompai^d it with that adopted by his imme- 
diate predeo^l&rs. And perhaps, in point of 
utilit7> tbe labMr he has employed in conne&ing 
and melhodiikig their Scattered ideas, is not lefs 
^akabie t^an the refults of bis own original fpeeu- 
lations : For it is only when digefted in a clear 
and natural order, that 'truthe make their proper 
impreflion on the mind, and that erroneous opi- 
liions cap be combated with fuccefs. 

It does not bdong to my prefent undertaking 
(even if I were qualified for fuch a talk) to attempt 
the {eparation of the folid and important doflrines 
of Mr. Smith's book fVom thofe opinions which 
appear exceptionable or doubtful. I acknow- 
ledge, that there are fome of his conclufions to 
which I would not be underftood to fubfcribe im- 
plicitly; more particularly in that chapter, where 
he treats of the principles of taxation, and which 
is cerrainly executed in a manner more loofe and 
unfatisfadory than the other parts of his fyftem. 

It would be improper for me to conclude this 
fe6iion without taking notice of the manly and 
dignified freedom with which the author uniform- 
ly delivers his opinions, and of the fuperiority 
Ayhich he difcovers throughout, to all the little paf- 
fions connected with the fadiions of the times in 
which he wrote. Whoever takes the trouble to 


cottipare the general tone of his compofitioii with 
the period of its firft publication, cannot fail to 
feel and acknowledge thcforce of this remarks- 
It is not often that a difinterefted zeal for truth 
has fo foon met with its juft reward. Philofophers 
(to ufe an expreflLoa of LqrdxBfcoNjs) are " the 
fervants of pofterity ;*' and moft of thofc who have 
devoted. their talQnti3.tP ^e )be(l interefta jof int^* 
•kind, have. beea. obliged, like lBAC^,^i, to "be- 
queath their fame'^ lo^axa^e yxit, uabOiTn, jand to 
coiafole themfelves with the idea .ftf fdwiog'.whJit 
an^^her genaratloa was jto reap : 

Infere Ddphni.^yrosy catptmf tu&ptmia Mfotts. 

Mr, S M I i^H- wa^mofe fortutiate ; . or .rather,, iathis 
refpeS, his fortune was -ilngulan Mc jfiiiisriyed 
the publication of^ his woxk only fifteen years; 
and yet, during that period, he. had nDt only the 
&t46fa^iou of feeing the oppoiitioa it at firft ear- 
cited, gradually fubfide, but to witnefs the- prac- 
tical -iafluefiiGe of his writings on the oommexcikl 
policy of his country. 

g t SECTION , 


S E C T I O N V. 

Conclufion of the Narrative* 

About two years after the publication of 
" The Wealth of Nations," Mr* Smith was ap- 
pointed one of the Commiffioners of his Majefty-s 
Cuftoms in Scotland ; a preferment which, in his 
eftimation, derived an additional value from its 
being beftowcd on him at the requeft of the Duke 
of BuccLEVGH. The greater part of thefe two 
years he pafled at London, in a fociety too extenfivc 
and varied to afford him any opportunity of in- 
dulging his tafte for ftudy. His time, however, 
was not loft to himfelf ; for much of it was fpent 
withfomeof the firft names in Engliih literature. 
Of thefe no unfavourable fpecimen ispreferved by 
Dr. Barnaud, in his well known " Vcrfes ad- 
*^ drefled to Sir Joshua Reynolds and his 

If I have thoughts, and can't exprefs 'em. 
Gibbon fhall teach me how to drefs'em 

In words feleft and terfe : 
Jo ^s teach me modefty and Greek, 
Smith how to think, Bukk£ howtofpeak. 

And Beauclerc to converfe*"^ 


* See Anniul Re^^er for the year 1776. 


. la confeqaence of Mr. Smith's appomtmcnt 
to the Board of Cuftoms, he removed, in 1778, to 
Edinburgh, Vhere he fpem the laft J twelve yeara 
of his life ; enjoying an affluence whipH was more 
than equal to all his wants ; and, what was to him 
of ftill greater value, the profped of paifing thc^ 
remainder of his days among the coospwions of 
his youth* 

His mother, who, though now in extreme old 
age, ftill pofTefied a confiderable degree of health, 
and retained all her faculties unimpaired, aecom« 
panied him to town; and his coufin Mifs ]xHir 
Douglas, (who had formerly been a member of 
his family at Glafgow, and for whom .he bad al- 
ways felt the afie£iion of a brother,) while flie. di- 
vided with him thofe tender attentions ^hich her 
aunt's infirmities required, relieved him of a charge 
for which he was peculiarly ill qualified, by her 
friendly fuperinteudance of his doinofUc ceoo-^ 

The acceffion to his income which his new office 
brought him, enabled him to gratify, to a much 
greater extent than his former circumftances ad- 
mitted of, the natural gcncrofity of his difpofiition 5 
and the (late of his funds at the time of his death, 
compared with his very moderate eftablilhment, 
confirmed, beyond a doubt, what his intimate ac-* 
qaaintances had often fufpe^led, that a large pro* 
pordon of his annual favings was allotted to offices 


«»» Acexxmn or t«e hfe* and 

^kmi^dkoEciiyh M fraaVl, butr evooUem libnlry, 
iHiieS! be Had grapdtiaHy fonaad with grent yadgs 
ffworin'ibe' ftlcftibu} wd a^fimpki tiiiongH'hoC 
pmiUe't]^!^ where^ Withom the fbrraality of ao 
ilxvitMiefi(, id wa$ aiw^a happy tt> rfeocwe hia 
ifeSdi^J^ were the* ^ly ex^ajudts ttea: coiiikC bo 
idnfida? «i ar kit owtt *, i 

The chapge in his habits which his removal to 
£&i£bft7{^ produced^ was not ei^ally £iYQiiral)le 
tdi^ H» Ji(l€rary purfoits. The duties of his offwj; 
thoQgltthey required botUttkescirtioii of thoughts 
ivene*yet<fdfficieDtt6 wstftc his fpiritsasfed to dr^ 
^to Ui0' attention ; aad liow that his career ii 
elei(bi^. k i»i«|boffible to refle(9[^oa the traie thef 
cohfteuhedy without l^memtiDg, tHat it had not 
bcch employed m labotrs mord profitable x^ tibo 
wpiid^ aid mdib oq^Qfttu^ bis mrsBi* 

. jDviri^g the ^ yeafsof hfs reiadencc in this ci- 
ty, his ftudics feemed to be entirely fufpeuded ; 
^iiid his paffion for letters ferved only to auiufd his 
}^i^^,^ 9^ t0 aiH&jiatf bifrco^teriatioav The ivh 


* Soitoc very ail^ding. inftances of Mr. Skitr's benefi* 
cence, in caiea 'where he found it impoi^&ble to conceal en- 
titoly hit good offices, have b^en meniioned to me hy a near 
reiatioh of his, and on^ofhis moil confidencial friends^ Miff 
Rotts, dti(|liMr of thtlatc Patricia Rois^ Bfq% of Inner- 
iMd^. Thdy vmt6 all on $L fcale ftiuch beyond whst might 
K^ViB teftnrfrx^cdfedfpoiQjHS' fortune-, and were' acoompaaied 
>ptth circumftances equall/ honourable to the, delicacy of hit 
(feelings and tbfi Ub^ality of his heart* 


fivmities of agcy ^f whieh he. very^arly began- 10 
ieel the approjiches^ reiodnded him at lafty wheil 
it: was too late^. of what he y<st owed* to thc^pubfio^ 
and to his own^ fame. The principal siatemle of 
the works which he had an&ounoed^ had- heeil 
long ago collided ; and little probably was want* 
in^ but a few years of health and retiremeAty to 
beftow on them that fy fteBaatical anrangement ill 
which he delighted ; aind the ornaments of that 
fl&wiag, and apparently artlefs- ftyle, Which k^ 
had ftudioufly cultivated, but which, afbr all hit 
experience in copipofition, he adjuAed, wi^ exi 
tfeitoe difiioulty, to his own tafte *, 

The death of his mother in 1784, which was 
followed by that of Mifs Douglas in 1788^ 
«ontributed> it is probable, to frufirate thefe pro* 
^oSLSf They had been the obje^s of his afib^ion 


^ Ms. SMrrH obftrved to me, aot k>it|r.bffer6 his dotl^ 
Aat after all hi» praAice ux waiting, he oortip4ttd as-iUirij; 
and 'With as great difficulty, a^ at iirft. He added, at the 
lame time, that Mr. Hvmx had acquired £0 graat a facility ia 
this refpeft, that the laft volumes of his hiftory were print- 
cd from his otigiual copy, lyith a few margiixi^l cbtt^ion^* 

It v^j gratify the curiofity of fome readers to biow, tW 
when Mr. Smith was employed in compofition, he generally 
walked up and down his apartment, di6tating to a fecretaij. 
^11 MV. Hume's works (I have Been* allured) wef^ \»rit- 
tea mtk hi» own' haiid. A crffical riaedefe' mtfy, t thkS( 
pecoeive ki the diferent ftyle* of tbcfe v^ dafikabMhaH 
the eSeda of theix differeat modef of ftudy. 


for more than fixty years; and in their fociety 
he had enjoyed, from his infency, all that he 
ever knew of the endearments of a family. He 
was now alone, and helplefs; and, though he 
bore his lofs with equanimity, and regained ap- 
parently his former cheerfulnefs, yet his health 
and flrength gradually declined till the period of 
his death, which happened in July 1790, about 
two years after that of his coufin, and fix after 
that of his mother. His laft illnefs, which arofe 
from a chronic obft-ruftion in his bowels, was 
lingering and painful ; but had every confolation 
to footh it which he could derive from the tender- 
ed fympathy of his friends, and from the com* 
plete rcfignation of his own mind, 

• A few days before his death, finding his end 
approach rapidly, he gave orders to deftroy all 
his manufcripts, excepting fome detached eflays, 
which he entrufted to the care of his executors; 
^nd* they were accordingly committed to the 
flames. What were the particular contents of 
thefe papers, is not known even to his moft inti- 
mate friends; but there can be no dopbt that 
they confided, in part, of the le6J;ures on rheto- 
ric, which he read at Edinburgh in the year 1748, 
and of the leisures on natural religion and on ju- 
rifprudencc, which formed part of his courfe at 
Glafgow. That this irreparable injury to lettera 
proceeded, in fome degree, - from an exceifive fa-, 
Ucitude in the author about his pofihumous repu«> 



tation, may perhaps be true; but with rcfpcft to 
fome of his manufcripts, may we not fuppofc, 
that he was iufiuenced by higher motives ? It is 
bat feldom that a philofopher, who has been oc- 
cupied from his youth with moral or with politi-* 
cal enquiries, fucceeds completely to his wifh ia 
fiating to others, the grounds upon which his 
Qwn opinions are founded; and h^nce it is, that 
the known principles of an individual, who has 
approved to the public his candour, his liberality, 
and his judgment, arc entitled to a weight arid 
an authority, independent of the evidence which 
he is able, upon any particular occafion, to pro-» 
ducc in their fupport. A fecret confcioufnefs of 
this circumftance, and an apprehenfion, that by 
not doing juftice to an important argument, the 
progrefs of truth may be rather retarded than ad- 
vanced, have probably induced many authors ta 
with-hold from th€ world the unfiniflied refults of 
their moil valuable labours ; and to content them- 
felves with giving the general Iknftion of their 
fuflFrages to truths which they regarded as peculi^ 
firly intereftin^ to the human race *, 


♦ Since writing the above, 1 have been favoured hj Dr, 
Hi7TTOK with the following particulars : 

** Some time before his laft illnefs, when Mr. Smith had 
<)ccafion to go London, he enjoined his friends, to whom he 
had entrufted the difpofal of his manuf<;ripts, that in the event 
qi his death, thej IhouU deftro/ all the volumes of his lee** 



Tht additions tt> the Theory of Moral SeHtU 
xmm&i mo& of whkh were compofed under fevere 
difc&fe, had fortunately been fent td tH p^efs iA 
the begk&amg df the preceding winter; axid the 
Wthor Uved to fee thQ publication of th^ work. 


mtrr, dding vMi tike reR of hirnMiimlbrfpfs wbat lAejr plaf' 
cd; WlktfA novr he had become weak» and faw di« appTt>adi» 
i9g p9ri«id of Ifi^ lifr^ ho fpok^ to hi^* £rie&db> agfuti upon tke 
&sf& fubjeft Thej entreatod him to make his mtfid ead)v ^9 
he might depend upon their fulfilling ]>is defire. He was 
then faiisiied. But fome days afterwards, finding His anxiet/ 
iTot endrelf remoTed, hr begged one of tkem to deftroy die 
v^foioMf ioHHicdiately. Thn aecordiagljr imydoat;- aitdhii 
mad was for«ttcb*x)elieTed, chat he wa« able to vouSfirtflan 
f^Mhdz iu the- evening wi^ kis: )4ual compU^ncj* 

^ They had been in ufc to fup with him every Sunday; and 
tkit tv^ningf there i^at a pretty numerous meetin>g of them* 
fibi SmTX'not finding hid^elf able to fit up with thent 4if yfu« 
ajvixtlsed. to bed. before iupper; an^ a^ he iveat iweT> ^^ 
leave of his fnends by faixingt * ^ beUeve we muft adjourn this 
inecting to fome pther place/ He d}ed 9; vcy^ few day^ aftcr^ 

Mr. KxppsLL, an intimate friend of Mr. Smith's, who 
-VfM prefent at one of the converfations on the fubjedl of the 
vianufcripts, fnentioned to me, in addition to Dr. Hutton's 
note, that Mr. Smith regretted, ** he had done fo little." 
^* But I meant (faid he) to have done more ; and there are 
inaterials in my papei^, of which I could have made n great 
deal But thai is now out of the cjuefiion/' 

That the idea of dellr;;ying fuch unifnifhed work's as might 
lie in Mi pofftffipn at the time of Kis death, was not the t^ 

^ of 

WfiJt&fQS-Of fin. SMITH. 

^he nidftl attdfericmi^ ftmn thatpfctailsibroTigb 
tliefc additions, \v4ien connefied with thecireum-r 
ABntet$f of kik declining health, adds a poculiai^ 


of any fudden or haftj rqfolutiao^ appears from t)ie following 
letter to Mr. Hums, written by Mc. Smith in 1773, at a 
time when he was preparing himfelf for a j urney tj London, 
y^hh the profpeifl of a pretty IttAg abfence fvum 9cedaa4* 

iSfY DEAR ^RUND, Mdititurgh, \6ih Jprll 1^73. 

As I liftve left the cs^ of all my licerazy papers* to you,. X 

muft tell you,, that except thofe which I carry along with me^ 

there are none wordi the publication, but a {ragment of a greaf 

^ort, which contains a h1i(ory' of the aft'ronomtcal iyilems 

ihat were fhccefl^ely m faihiaxk <bwB to the thnd of Dbs 

Ca & tx ». WhKbet that ihight noc h^ publiibed as a fragipenf 

of an intended juTenile wofk> I leave eotiteiy to your judg« 

ment, though I begin to fiifped myfelf that there is more re* 

finement than iblidity in fume parts of it. Thi^ little work 

you will find in a thin folio paper book in my back rooM. All 

the other loofe papefs Xwhich you will find in thaft dcflc, or 

Within the glafs folding doors- of a bureau which fbandt iu my 

bed^rcom, together with about eig}iteen thin paper folio booksj 

which you ynA. likewif<f find within the iame gji^fs folding 

doors^ I deiire may be deftroyed without any examination. 

Unlefs I die very fuddenly, 1 fhall take care that the papers \ 

carry with me ihall be carefully fent to you. 

I* ever «d, my dear Friend^ noft &ichfuUy your's, 

Adam Siiit»5 

T« Davzo Ho MB, ISxy 
Si* Andrew's Square. 


^harm to his pathetic eloquence, and communi- 
cates a new intcreft, if pofliblc, to thofe fublime 
truths, which, in the academical retirement of 
Jiis youth, awakened the firft ardours of his ge- 
. Xiius, and on which the laft efforts of his mind 

In a letter addrcflcd, in the year 1787, to the 
Principal of the Univerfity of Glafgow, in con- 
fequence of being elcfted Reftor of that learned 
bgdy, a pleafing memorial remains of the fetis- 
faftion with which he always rccolleded that pe- 
riod of his literary career, which had been more 
peculiarly confecrated to thefe important ftudics. 
** No preferment (fay$ he) could have given mc fd 
^^ much real fatisfa^^ioo. No man c^n owe great-^ 
^* cr obligations to a fociety than I do to the Uni- 
•* verfity of Glafgow. They educated mc; they 
^* fcnt me to Oxford. Soon after my return to 
^* Scotland, they ele6i;ed me one of their own 
V members ; and afterwards preferred me to ^no- 
^* ther office, to which the abilities and virtues of 
^* the never to be forgotten Dr. Hutcheson had 
<* given a ftiperior degree of illuftration. The 
*' period of thirteen year^ which I fpent as a 
*' member of tl^at fociety, I remember as by far 
** the moft ufeful, and therefore as by far the 
♦* happieft and moft honourable period of my life; 
** a|id now, after three and twenty years abfence, 
^^ to be remembered in fo very agreeable a man- 
^* ner by my old friends and protedlors, gives 

" mc 


*^ me a- heart-felt joy which I. cannot eafily exprefe 
**^ to you,'' ^ 

The fliort narrative which I have now finifhed, 
however barren of incident, may convey a gene- 
rad idea of the genius and cjbaradler of: this illuf- 
uious Man. Of the intelle6lual gifts and aUain- 
mcnts by which he was fo eminently diftinguilh- 
cd;— of the originality and comprehcnfivenefs 
of his views; the extent, the variety, and the 
Gorre&nefs of his information; the inexhauftible 
fertility of his invention ; and the ornaments 
which his rich and beautiful imagination had bor- 
rowed from claffical culture ; — ^he has left behind 
him iafting monuments. To his private worth 
the moil certain of all teftimonies may be found 
in that confidence, refpedl, and attachment, 
which followed him through all the various rela- 
tions of life. The ferenity and gaiety he enjoy- 
ed ^ under the preflfure of his growing infirmities, 
and the warm iutereft he felt to the laft, in every 
thing conne&ed with the welfare of his friends, 
will be long remembered by a fmall circle, with 
whom, as long as his ftrength permitted, he re- 
gularly fpent an evening in the week ; and to 
whom the recoUedion of his worth flill forms a 
pleafing though melancholy bond of union. 

The more delicate and chara&eriftical features 
of his mind, it is perhaps impoflible to tracp. 
That there were many peculiarities, both in lys 


t^Mi ACeotolt OF ^HE LBPBt AN0 

^wanner, and in his intcUcSual habits, was ma- 
nifcft to the moft fuperficial dbfervcr; b,ut al- 
though, to thofe who knew him, thcfe peculiari- 
tiee detraded nothing fronl the refpe^ ^Vhich his 
abilities eommanded ; tod kkhough, to hife inti- 
*iBa«e friends, they added an inexpr^ifible charm 
-to his cotiveHation, while they difpla^ycd, in the 
-mdl inteFefting light, the •rtlefs^mplicity of his 
^heart ; yet it would require a very tkilfol pencil 
to pfefent jthem to the public eye. He was cer- 
taiinlynotfitted for the general commerce of the 
•worW, or for the bufinefs of aftive life. The 
eomprehenfive fpeculations with Which he had 
beeCL oocapied from bis youth, and the variety of 
materikls which his oWn invention continually 
fupplied to his thoughts, rendered him habitually 
inattentive to familiar objeiSis, and lo common 
occurrences ; and he frequently exhibited inftan* 
ces of abfencc, which have fcarecly been lurpaff- 
ed by the fancy of La Bru yehe. Even in com- 
pany, he was apt to be ingrofled with his ftudics; 
and appeared, at times, by the motion of his 
lips, as well as by his looks and geftures, to be 
in the &rvour of compofition. I have oftcn^ how- 
ever, been ftruck, at the diftance 6f yeaics, with 
his accurate memory of the moft trifling particu^ 
lars ; and am inclined to believe, from this and 
fome other circumftances, that he pofTefled a pow- 
er, not perhaps uncommon among abfent men, 
of recollefting, in confcqucnce of fubfequ«t 
efforts of refleftion, manytxrcurrcnces which, -at 


witrrmes of rat- suits, c<k 

iht time whea they ji^p^ned, did not fwax to 
have feniibly attra<fted his aotice* 

To the dt£t& bow mentioned, it wisprobaaly 
owing, m part, that he 4id not fall in eafily with 
tht eonimoa dialogue of eoavorfai^on, and tliat 
he wa9 ibcn^wlutt apt -to convey > hie owa ideas «a 
the fiNrn;^ 4](f h lefWre. When he did ib^ how^ 
ever, it never proceeded from -a wiih to ingroft 
the difcourfe, or to gratify his vanity. His own 
iQcliaation difpoied hioi ib ftrongly to ei^y in 
filence the gaiety of thofe arou&d him^ that ht4 
iriendB were often led to ^concert little fehefliea, 
in ocder to bring him on the &bje£is moft iikely 
to inteicft him. Nor do I thi&k I ihall be aceuC- 
ed of going too far, when I fay, that he waa 
fcarcely ever known to ftart a new topic himfelC 
or to appear unprepared upon thofe topks thflt 
were introduced by others. Indeed, his conver- 
btion wa5 never more amufing thiui when he gave 
I loofe to his genius, upon the very few branched 
of knowledge of which he only poiiTei^d theou^ , 

The opinions he formed of men, upon a flight 
acquaintance, were frequently erroneous; but the 
tendency of his nature inclined him much more 
to blind partiality, than to ill-founded prejudice. 
The enlarged views of human affairs, on which 
his mind habitually dwelt, left him neither time 
&or inclination to (ludy, in detail, the uninteref- 



ling peculiarities of ordinary chara^ers ; and ac« 
cordingly, though intimately acquainted with th^ 
capacities of the intelledi^ and the workings of 
the heart, and accuftomed, in his theories^ to 
mark^ with the moft delicate hand, the niceft 
ihades, both of genius and of the paflions j yet, 
in judging of individuals, it fometimes happened, 
that his eftimates were, in a furpri&ng degree, 
wide of the truth. 

The opinions, to6, which, ib the thoughtlefT- 
nefs and confidence of his focial hours, he was 
acouftomed to hazard on books, and on quefiions 
of fpeculation, were not uniformly fuch as might 
have been expedied from the fuperiority of his 
underftanding, and the fingular confifleney of his 
philofophical principles. They were liable to be 
influenced by accidental circumftances, and by 
the humour of the moment ; and when retailed 
by thofe who only faw him occafionally, fuggeft- 
cd falfe and contradidlory ideas of his real fenti- 
Bients. On thefe, however, a^ on moft other 
occafions, there was always much truth, as well 
as ingenuity, in his remarks ; and if the different 
opinions which, at different times, he pronounc- 
ed upon the' fame fubjed^, had been all combined 
together, fo as to modify and limit each other, 
they would probably have afforded materials for 
a decifion, equally comprehenfive and juft. But, 
in the fociety of his friends, he had no difpoii- 
tion to form thofe qualified conclufions that we 



admire m.his writings; add he generally content- 
ed himfelf with a bold and maflerly fketch of the 
abjeft, from the firft point of view in which his 
temper, or his fancy, prefented it- oomcthing 
of the fame kind might be ren^arked, when he 
auempied, in the flow of his Ipirits, to delineate 
ihofe charai^ers which, from long intimacy, he 
might have beea fappofedto underftand thorough- 
ly. The pi^ure was always lively, and expref- 
live; and commonly bore a ftrong and amufing 
relemblance to the original, when viewed under 
one particular afped ; but feldom, perhaps, con^^ 
ycyed a juft and complete conception of it 

ia all its climcnfions and proportions.^ In a 

word, it was the fault of his unpremeditated 
judgments, to be too fyfiematicaU and too much 
ia cxtrcmesv 

But, in whatever way theife trifling peculiarities 
in his manners may be explained, there can be 
no doubt, that they were intimately connefted 
with the genuine artleffnefs of his mind. In this 
amiable quality, he often recalled to his friends, 
the accounts that arc given of good La Fon- 
taine; a quality which in him derived a pecu- 
liar grace from the Angularity of its combination 
with thole powers of reafbn and of jcloquence 
^hicb, in his political and moral writings, have 
long engaged th^ admiratioa of Europe. 


•xxil ACCbtTNT bt lUfe LIKE ANl5 

In his external form and appearance, tficre wat 
Nothing uncommon- When pcrfcftly at eaft, 
an<J when warmed with convcrfation, his gef- 
tures Svere animated, atid A6t ungraceful; and, 
in the focifety of thc^fe he loved, his features were 
often brightehcd with a fmile of ine^reifible be- 
nigiiity. In tht company 6f ft rangers, his ten- 
dency to abfcliC6, and perhaps ftill more his con- 
fcioufnefs ttf this tfcndcncy, rendered his inanner 
fomcwhat embarraflfedj-^an effeft which Was pro- 
bably not a littte heightened by thofe fpeculativc 
ideas of propriety, which his rechife habits tend- 
ed at once to perfe£^ in his conception, and to di- 
Sriiniih his power of realizing. He never lat for 
his pifture; but the medallion of Tassie con- 
"veys an cXaft Idea of hik profile, atid of the ge- 
neral exprei&on of his countenance^ 

iThfe valuable library that hfc h^ tollefted he 
bequeathed, together with the reft of his proper- 
ty, to his coufin Mr. David DotJOLAs, Advo- 
cate. In the education of this ywmg gentleman, 
he had employed much of his Icifure ; and it was 
only tWo years before his death, (at a time when 
lie could ill fpare the pleafure of his focicty,) that 
he had fent him to ftttdy law at Glafgow, under 
'the care of Mn Millar; — ^the ftrongeft proof 
he could give of his difinterefted zeal for the im- 
provement of his friend, as well as of the eftcem 
in which he held the abilities of that eminent 



The executors of his will were Dr. Black and 
t)r. HuTTON; with whom he had long lived in 
habits of the moft intimate and cordial friend- 
ftiip; and who, to the many other teftimonies 
which they had given him of their affeAion, ad- 
ded the mournful office of witnefling his laft mo* 










I ' 


iV^ONDEH, Surprife, aod Admiration, arc 
vord9 whicb^ ()iougl) often confounded, de^ 
ju>te, in our language, fentiments that are in- 
deed allied, but that are in fonie refpedls difie- 
l«m alfo, and dtilin^ froqa oaq another. What 
is new aQd fingular, excites that fentiment which, 
in ftria propriety, is called Wondey } what is 
unexpeded, Surprife; and what is great or 
))eautiful. Admiration, 

We wonder at all extraordinary and uncom- 
mon ol:t}ed8, at all the rarer phaenomena of na- 
ture, at meteors, comets, eclipfes, at fingular 
plants and animals, and at every thing, in ihort, 
with which we have before been either little 
.^ not at all aequainted ; aad we ftill wonder, 
tlkough foifewariu»l of wbftt we are to fee* 



Wc ar^ furprifed at thpfc things which w^ 
have feen often, but which we leaft of all ex- 
pefled to meet with in the place where we find 
them; we are furprifed at the fudden appear- 
ance of a friend, whom we have feen a thoufand 
times, but whom we did not imagine we were tq 
fee then. 

We admirp the beaigy o^j)^^^^ 
' nefs of a mountain,^ though we have feen both 
often before, ^and though nothing appears to us 
in either, but what we had expeded with cey* 
tainty to fee. 

Whether this criticifm upon the prccife meaur 
ing of thefe words-be juft, is of little importance. 
I imagine it is juft, though I acknowledge, that 
the beft writers in our language have not aU 
ways made ufe of them according to if. Milton, 
upon the appearance of Death to Satan, faya, 

The Fiend what, thi^ ought \)e adqilrVli 
Admir'd, not fear'd.— — • 

But if this criticifm be juft, the proper expref* 
fion ftiould have been wondtr^d. — Dryden, upon 
the difcovery of Iphigenia ileeping, fays, that 

The fool of nature ftpod with ftupid c^es 
And gaping mputh, that teiUfied furprife. 

But what Cimon muft have felt upon this occa-^ 
fion could not fo much be Surprife, as Wonder 



aad Admiration, All that I contend for is, 
that the fentiments excited by what is new, by 
what is unexpeded, and by what is great and 
beautiful, are really different, however the words 

made ufe of to exprefs them may fometimes be _, - 

Cpnfounded. Even the admiration which is ex- l^cdt^U^ 
cited by beauty, is quite different (as will appear'^^^y^^^ 
more fully hereafter) from that which is infpired^4H^/t/^4?j^ 
by greatnefs, thpugli we have but one word to;^A.^^ra)C 
denote them, iyunuda.^)- 

Thefe fentiments, like all others when iufpir*- 
ed by one and the fame objeft, mutually fupport 
and enliven one another: an objed with whiph 
we are quite familiar, and which we fee every 
day, produces, though both great and beauti- 
ful, but a foiall effedi upoa us ; becaufe our ad- 
miration is not fupported either by Wonder or 
by Surprife: and if we have heard a very ac- 
curate defcription of a monfter, our Wonder wiU 
be the lefs when we fee it ; becaufe our previous 
Jcnowledge of it will in a great meafure preveAt 
our Surprife, 

It is the defign of this Eflay to confider par- 
ticularly the nature and cauf(?s of each of thefe 
fentiments, whofe influence is of far wider ex« 
tent than we Ihould be apt upon a carelefs view 
to imagine. I flxall begin with Surprife. 





Of the EffeS of Vnexp^Bcdnefiy or of Surprifi. 

\V HElf w objed of aoy kind, which has bcca 
for fome time expedec) and forefeen^ prefents 
jtfelf, whatever be the emotion which it is by 
nature fitted to excite, the mind muft have been 
prepared for it, and muft even in fome nieafure 
have conceived it before-h&nd ; becaufe the idea 
of the objeft having been fo long prcfent to it, 
tnuft have before-hand excited fome degree of 
the fame en^otion which th^ objeft itfelf would 
excite: the change, therefore, which its pre- 
fence produces comes thus to be lef^ confider- 
able, and the emotion or paffioa which it excites 
glides gradually and eaiiiy into the hearty withT 
<mt violence, pain, or difficulty^ 

But the contrary of all this happens when 
the objeft is unexpefted; the paffion is then 
poured in all at once upon the heart, which is 
thrown, if it is a ftrong paffion, into the moft 
violent and convulfive emotions, fuch as fomc- 
times caufe immediate death ; fometimes^ by the 
fuddennefs of the extacy, fo entirely disjoint the 
whole frame of the imagination, that it never 
after returns to its former tone and compofure, 



but Mis either iotp 4 fra^^y or lubkual lunacy; 
and fuch as almofl always occafion. a mQmentury 
lofs of reafon, or of that attention to other things 
which pTir iitwtiou -of ^^r ^uty requires. 

How mjuch we drevJ jh^ eiSfe^s of the inpr« 
violeat paffions, whea they come fuddcnly upPB 
the xfiind, appears frpm jhofc preparations which 
all men think neceilary when gOiQg tp isfiproft 
any one of what is capable of exciting them. 
Who wQuld chooftp ^11 at pnc^ to inforoi his 
friend of a^ c?tr?iordinary citl^mity that had be- 
fallen him, without taking care hefore-haud, by 
alarming him with an nnc^rtaia fear» to. an^ 
Bounce, if Q^e miay fay fo, his mi^fortun^, and 
thereby prepari? aad difpofc him fpr r^f:eiying 
the tidings? 

Thofe panic terrors which fom^times fcizc ar*- 
mies in the fi^ld, or great cities, when an enemy 
is in the neighbourhood, and which deprive for 
a time the moft determined of all deliberate judg- 
ments, are never excited but by the fudden ap* 
prehenfion of unexpefled danger. Such violent 
conftemations, which at once confound whole 
multitudes, benumb their underfls^ndings, and 
agitate their hearts, with all the agony of extrar 
vagant fear, can never be produced by any 
forefeen danger, how great fipiever. Fear, tho* 
naturally a very ftrong paflion, n^ver rifcs to 
fuch exceflies, unlefs exafpcrated both by Won* 
der, from th^.UBce;:^^ M^urc q^ thfi danger, 



and by .Surprife, from the fuddennefs of the 

Surprife, therefpre, is not to be regarded a« a^ 
prigiDal emotion of a fpecies diftinft fi'oni al| 
others. The violent and fudden change prp« 
duced upon the mind, when an emotion of anj 
kind is brought fuddenly upon it, conftitutes the 
whole nature of Surprifct 

But when not only a paflion and a gre^t paff 
fion comes all ^t once upon the mind, but wheiz 
it comes upon i% while the mind is \n the mood 
molV unfit for conceiving it, the Surprife is 
then the greateft, Surprifes of joy when the 
pnnd is fiink into grief, or of grief when it is 
elated with joy, are therefore the n^oft ^nfup- 
portable. Th^ change is in this c^fe the j^r^ateft 
poflible. Not only a ftrong paflion is conceived 
all at once, but a ftrong paffion the dire^ oppo? 
fite of that which was before in poflefiiQn of the 
foul. When a load of forrow comes down upon 
the heart that is expanded and elated with gaiety 
and joy, it feems not only to damp and opprefs 
it, but almoft to crufh and bruilb it, as a real 
weight would crulh and bniife the body. Oa 
t'he contrary, when from an unexpefied change 
of fortune, a tide of gladnefs feems, if I may fay 
fo, to fpring up all at once within it, when de- 
preffed and contra£led with grief and forrow, 
it feels as if fuddenly extended and heaved up 
with violent and irrefiftible force, and is torn 



iiritli pftngs of all others moft exquifite, and 
which almofl always occafion faintings, deli- 
riums, and fometimes inflant death, f^orit tn^j 
be worth while to obferve, that though grief be 
a more violent paflion than joy, as indeed all 
uneafy fenfations feem naturally more pungent; 
than the oppofite agreeable ones, yet of the twoy 
Surprifes of joy are ftill more infupportable thaa 
Surprifes of grief. We are told that after the 
battle of Thrafimenus^ while a Roman lady, 
nvho had been informed that her fon was flaia 
in the a£lion> was fitting alone bemoaning her 
misfortunes, the young man who efcaped came 
fuddenly into the room to her, and that fhe 
cried out and expired inflantly in a tranfport of 
joy. Let us fuppofe the contrary of this to have 
happened, and that in the midft of domeilic fef- 
tivity and mirth, he had fuddenly fallen down 
dead at her leet, is it likely that the effeds 
Vr'ould have been equally violent? I imagine not* 
The heart fprings to joy with a fort of natural 
elallicity,. it abandons itfelf to fo agreeable an 
emotion, as foon as the obje£l is prefented ; it 
feems to pant and leap forward to meet it, and 
the pafGon'in its iull force takes at once entire 
and complete pofleifibn oi the fouL But it is 
otherways with grief; the heart recoils from^ 
and refills the firA approaches of that difagree- 
able paiEon, and it requires fome time before- 
the melancholy ohjeGt can produce its full cScSt. 
Grief comes on flowly and gradually, nor ever 
rlfcs at once to that height of agony to which 



it is incrcafccf after a little time. Btit j'oy domes 
rufhing upon us all at once like a tdfrent. The 
change produced therefore by a Surprilfe of* joy 
is more fudden, and upon rhat account more 
violent and apt to have nKJre f^al' effe<3s, than 
tliat which is occafioned by a Surprife of grief; 
there feems too to be Ibmething^ in the nature 
of Surprife, which makes it Unite more eafilj 
with the brilk and^ quick motion ctf joy, than 
with the flower and heavier rtiovement of* grief. 
Moft men who can take the trouble to recollefl, 
will find that they have heard of more people 
who died or became diftrafted with fudden joy, 
than with fudden grief. Yet frbm the nature of 
humati aflfeirs, the lattet muft be much more fre- 
quent than the former. A mati may break his 
legi or lofe his fon, though he has had no warn- 
ifig of either of thefe events, but he can hardly 
meet with" an extraordinary piece of good for- 
tune, without having had-fome forefight of what 
was to happen. 

Not only grief and joy jjut all the other paf- 
fions, are more violent, when oppofite extreme* 
fiicceed each other; Is any refentment fo keen 
as what fbllows the quarrels of lovers, or any 
love fo paflionate as What' attends their recon- . 

Even the objefts of the external fenfes affeft 
us in a more lively manner, when oppofite ex- 
tremes fucceed to, or are placed .befide each 



Other, Moderate warmth feems intolerable heat 
if felt after extreme cold. What is bitter wiH 
feem more fo when tafted after what is very 
fweet ; a dirty white will feem bright and pure 
when placed by a jet black. The vivacity in 
ihort of tvtry fenfation, as well as of every 
fcntiment, feems t6 be greater or lefs in propor- 
tion to Ihe change made by the impreffioh of 
cither upon the fitiiation of the mind or oifgan ; 
but this change mull neceffarily be the greateft 
when oppofite fentiments and fenfations are eon* 
trafted, ot fucceed immediately to one another. 
Both fentiments and fenfations are then the lire- 
licft ; and this fuperior vivacity proceeds from 
nothing but their being brought upon the mind 
or organ wheti in a ftate moft unfit for conceiv- 
ing them. 

As the oppofition of contrafted fentiments 
heightens their vivacity, fo the refemblance of 
Aofe which immediately fucceed each other ren- 
ders them more faint and languid. A parent 
who has loft feveral children immediately after 
one another, will be lefs affeded with the death 
of the laft than with that of the firft, though 
the lofs in itfelf be, in this cafe, undoubtedly 
greater; but his mind being already funk into 
forrow, the new misfortune feems to produce 
no other effe£l than a continuance of the fame 
meUncholy, and is by no means apt to occafion 
fuch tranfports of grief as are ordinarily excited 
kf the £i!ll calamity of the kind ; he receives it, 



thongh with great dejedlion, yet with feme de- 
gree of calaiuefs and compofure, and without 
aay thing of that anguifh and agitation of mind 
which the novehy of the misfortune is apt to 
Occafion. Thofe who have been unfortunate 
through the whole courfe of their lives are of- 
ten indeed habitually melancholy, and feme- 
times peevifh and fplenetic, yet upon any freih 
difappointment, though they are vexed and 
complain a little, they feldom fly out into any 
more violent paffion, and never fall into thofe 
tranfports of rage or grief, which often, upon 
the like occafions^ diftra& the fortunate and 

Upon this are founded, in a great nieafure, 
fome of the efieAs of habit and cullom. It is 
well knoWh that cuflom deadens the vivacity 
of both pain and pleafure, abates the grief we 
fliould feel for tlie one, knd weakens the joy 
we fhould derive from the other. 'The pain is 
fupported without agony, knd the pleafure en- 
joyed without rapture : becaufe cuftom and the 
frequent repetition of any ohjcSt comes at laft 
to form and i)end the mind or organ to that ha^ 
bitual mood and difpofition which fits them to 
receive its impreffion, without undergoing any 
very violent change. 


ttlStORY OF AStkONOMT^ 13 

s E c T I o N n. 

0/ Wonder, or of the tffcSi of Novelty. 

IT IS evident that the mind taked )>leafure iu 
obfervidg the fefethbrances that aire dircoverabld 
betirixt different objcfls. It is by means of fuch 
obrervatioas that it cndeaVonrs td arrange and 
methodife all its ideas, tod to deduce them into 
proper claiTes and affoftments. Where it can 
bbrerve but one fingle quality, that is comtnonto 
a great variety of otherwife widely different ob* 
jeds, that fingle circumfiance will be fufficient 
for it to conde£l them ill together, to reduce 
them to one common clals, and to callthem by 
One general name. It is thus that ^11 things en- 
dowed with a power of felf-motion, beafts, birds, 
fi{hes, infeAs, are clafTed under the general 
name of Animal; and thit thefe again, along 
with thofe which want that power, are arranged 
under the ftill more general word Subilance : and 
tbis is the origin of thofe aiforttnents of objeSs 
and ideas which in the fchools ai'e called Genera 
and Species, and of thofe abftraA and genial 
names, which in all languages are made ^fe of 
to exprefs them. ' 

The further we advance in k^owledg^ and 
^zperiencci th« greaier number of divifions and * 
C fabdivifiws 


fubdivifions of thofc Genera and Species we are 
both inclined and obliged to make. We ob- 
fcrve a greater variety qf particularities amoDgft 
thofe things which have a grofs refemblance ; 
and having made new diyifions of them, . ac- 
cording to thofe newly-abferved particularities, 
we are then no longer to be fatisfied with being 
able to refer an objeA to a remote genus, or 
very general clafs of things,, to many of which 
it has but a loofe, and imperfed refemblance. 
A perfon, indeed, unacquainted with botany 
may expeft to fatisfy your curiofity, by telling 
you, that fuch a vegetable is a.weed, or, per- 
haps iA flill more general terms, that it is a 
-plant.,. But a botanift will neither give nor ac- 
cept of fuch an anfwer. He has broke, and di<* 
yidcd that great clafs of . objedls intfll a number 
of iAfqrior affortments, according to thofe va* 
rieti^s which his experience, has difcovered 
amon^ themj and he wants to refer, each indiia\ 
iual plant to fome. tribe of vegetable3v with all 
of which it; might have a more e3ȣl refem* 
blance,. than with m^xiy ^hings comprehended 
under the, extenfive, genus of plants, , A child 
imaginpSi that it jglyes a fa^^faflo/y anfwer when 
it tells yqq,: that an ob)e^. whof^^. name it knows 
iLOt i3 a th|ng,^ ajad. £a&9ffs that it informs you 
of fooieichiag, when it thus^afcertains to whicli 
of the two mod obvious and compreheafiyc>claf- 
fes of objeds a particular impreflion ought to 
bc.jrcfejprsdi- .tp ^e^ claf» pf l;caJiti^.^or..folid 


fubftanccr Which it calls things, or to that of ajH 
pearaaees wliich it calk nothings.- ' ^ ' 

Whatever, in Ihort, dccurs to us <^c are fbnd 
of refcrrifig to fonfie fpecies ot clafs of tilings,' 
with all of which it has a nearly cxadl 'rcfem-' 
blancQ; arid though we often know* no morie' 
about them than about it, yet we are apt to fan- 
cy that by being able to do fo; we ftiow our- 
felves to • be^ better acquainted with it, and to 
have a more thorough infight into its nature. But 
when fomcthing quite- new and fingiilat is pre/ 
fented. We fed ourfelves incapable of doing-this. 
The memory cannot, from all its-ftores, cafrup 
any image that nearly refembles this ft range ap-» 
pearance. ' If by fome df Trar^qualities it feems* 
to refembU,- and to be connefted with a Tpiecies 
which we have before- been acquainted^ with, it^ 
is by others fejiarated, and ''detached from- that, 
and from all the other aflbttmerits 6f things we' 
have hitherto been able to make. It ftands alone 
and byitfelf^inthe iinagihatioh, and refufes to 
be grouped or confouncfcd' with a6yT<?t^<irbb-' 
jefts whatcvei*^ The imaginatioh And mempfty' 
exert tbemletVes to no purpofei and in vihi16bk:^ 
around 'all tfcfcir claffes of idefeis in ordfcr td fiiici^ 
one underwhith it maybe arranged. I7heyl3ud- 

tuate idn^ *purp^fe» froifri ^Bough^ ^to* tKoWht, 
and wtt temdin ffill wocerta'M %hd HinBct^liied'^ place it; or' wHaf'ScS'tMnk'oHL 'K' 
tbis-iWawli^n Mid-vi8fi«t^toidn?'^el[h^^^^^ 
wiihoihi «Motioa-or' %i*ViittftiSt' of I^^^^ 
t • -//; ri C 4 they 


they excite, which conftitutc the fentimeat ^ro-» 
perly cailed WondeVy and which occafioQ thar 
fiariDg, and foraetiines that rolliDg of the eyesy 
Aat fufpeoiion of the breath, that fwelling of 
the heart, which we may all obferve, both ior 
ourfelves and others, wheo wondering at fonne 
Qew objeA, and which are the natural fymptoms 
of uncertain and undetermined thotight. What 
fort of a thing can that be ? What is that like ? 
s)re the queftions which, upon fuch an occafion> 
we are naturally difpofed to afk. If we can re- 
colled many fuch objeds which exadly refemble 
this new appearance, and which prefent them- 
felves to the imagination naturally, and as it wefe 
of their own accord, our Wonder is entirely at an 
end. If we can recoiled but a £ew^ and whicli 
it requires too fome trouble to be able to call up, 
our Wonder is indeed diminifhed, but not quite 
deftroyed. If we can recoiled none, but arc 
quite at a lofsi it is the greateft poflible. 

With what curious attention does a natutalift 
examine a fingular plant, or a iingukr foflil, that 
is presented to him? He is at no lofs to refer it 
to the general genus of plants or foi&Is; but this 
dojea not fatisfy him, atid whea he confiders all . 
t^c different tribes or fpecies ^f either with 
wbich j>e has {hitherto been acquainted,' they all. 
He jhinks, r^fufe tp jiidam the pew dbjed among 
them* It flanks, alqne m his imagination, and 
as it were dcjt^dpied from all the other fpfccies 
of that gf nfia i^o wbkh it bdongi. He labours, 

. :> however, 


h^fwevtr, to conseA it with Some one or other 
o£ them. Sometimes he thinks it may be placed 
in this, and Ibmetimesin that other aifortment) 
nor is he ever iatisfied, till he has fallen upon 
one which, in moft of its qualities, it refembles; 
M^hen he cannot do this, rather than it Ihould 
ffcand quite by itfielf, he will enlarge the precinds; 
if I m^y fay fo, of fome fpecies, in order to make 
xoom for it; or he will create a new fpecies on 
purpofe to receive it, and call it a Play of Nature, 
or give it Ibme other appellation under which 
lie arranges all the oddities chat he knows not 
what elfe to do with. But to fome clars or other 
of known objeAs he muft refer it, and betwixt 
it and them he mufi find out fome refemblance or 
other, before he can get rid of that Wonder, that 
uncertainty and anxious curiofity excited by its 
fingular appearance, and by its diflimilitude with 
all the obje£is he had hitherto obferved. 

As fingle and individual objeds thus excite 
our Wonder whep^ by their, uncommon qualities 
and fingalar appearance, they make us uncertain 
to what fpecies of things W9 ou^t to refer them; 
fo a fucqeffion of obje^s which follow one ano^ 
ther in an uncommon train or order, will pro-^ 
duce the fame efie^, though there be nothing 
particular in any one of them takeo by itlblf^ 

When one accuftomed objeA appears after ano^^ 
ther, which it does not ufually follow, it firft ex- 
citest l^ its unezpedednels^ the fentiment pro^ 



pcHjr called Sfirptife, and afterwards. hy the fiii- 
gylatity of the fucceffioa, orocdenof its appear^ 
^Qoe» the fentiizient properly called Wonder- 
We ftart and are furprifed at feeing it there, and 
then wonder how it came there. " The motion o£ 
ft fmatl piece of iron alang a plain table is in jt- 
felf ' no e^ctraordinary objed, yet the pcrfon who 
£rft faw it begin, without any irifible impulfe^ in 
c<Kifequence of the motion of aloadftone atfamo 
little diftance from it, could not behold it with- 
out the moft extreme Surprife ; and when ihat 
momentary emotion was over, he would ftiU 
wonder how it came to be conjoined to an event 
with which, ^iccording to the ordinary train of 
thingSj he could have fo little fofpoded it to have 
any connection. 

When two obje&s, however unlike, have of- 
ten been obferved to follow each other, and have 
conftantly prcfented themfelves to the fenfes in 
thatorder, they oome to be folconnfefted toge- 
ther in the fancy, that the idea of the one feems, 
of its own accord, to call up and introduce that 
of the othjer. If the objeds are ftill obferved 
to fucceed each other as before, this conne6lion, 
or, as it has been called, this a0bciation of their 
i|dea8, becomes ftriAer and ilrider, and the ha- 
bit of the imagination to pafs from the concep- 
tion of the one to that of the other, grows more 
and more ri vetted and confirmed. As its. ideas 
move more rapidly than external objeds, it is 
coaiinuaUy running before thtm^ and therefore 



anticipates) before it happens, every event which 
falls 'out according to this ordinary courfe of 
things. When objects fucceed each other in the 
fame train in which the ideas of the imagination 
have thus been accuftomed to move, and in 
■which, though not conduced ' by that chain of 
events prefented to the fenfes, they have acquir-r 
ed a tendency to go on of their own accpcdel 
fuch objefts appear all clofely connefled with one. 
;inother, and the thought glides eaTily along them, 
vnthout effort and without interruption. They 
fall in with the natural career of the imagina* 
tion ; and as the ideas' which reprefented fuch a 
train of things would feem all mutually to intro^ 
duce each other, every laft thought to be calle4 
op by the foregoing, and to call up the fuccecd- 
ing ; fo when the objefts thenifdves occur, eve- 
ry laft event feems, in the fame manner, to be 
introduced by the foi^egoing,' and tp introduce 
the fucceeding. There is no break, no ftbp, no 
gap, no' interval- The ideas excited by fo cOr 
herenta chain of things feem, as it were, i;o float 
thrqiigh the mind of their own accord, without 
obliging it to exert itfelf, or to make any eiffbr^ 
in order to pafs from one of them to another. 

But if this cuftomary connexion \>c interruptT 
cd, if t)ne or more objeds appear in an order 
quite different from that to which the imagina? 
tion has been accuftomed, and for which it i$ 
prepared, the contrary of all this happens, Wc 
are at fitft futprifed by thp unexpeaedncfs of the 



new ftppearance, and wben that moodentary eoio* 
tion is over, wc ftill wonder bow it came to oc- 
cur in that placet The imagination no longer 
feels the ufual facility of pafl^ng from the event 
which goes before to that which comes after. It 
is an order or law of fucce^ion to which it haa 
not been accuftomed^ and which it therefore fioda 
fome difficulty in following, or in attending to. 
The fancy is flopped and interrupted in that na- 
tural movement or career, according to which it 
was proceeding. Thofe two events feem to ftand 
at a diftance from each other; it endeavours to 
l>ring them together, but they refufe to unite ; 
and it feels, or imagines it feels, fomething tike 
a gap or intervat l)etwizt them* It naturally he* 
fitates, and, as it were, paufes upon the brink 
of this interval; it endeavours to find out fome« 
thing which may fill up the gap, which, tike a 
bridge, may fo far. at leaft unite thore feemingly 
diftant objeds, as to render the pafTage of the 
thought betwixt them fmooth, and natural, and 
eldy. The fuppofition of a chain of intermedin 
ate, though invifible, events, which fucceed eadi 
dther in a train fimilar to that in wl^ch the ivar 
jginatidn has been accuftomed to move, and. which 
link together thofe disjointed appearances, is the 
only means by which the imagination can fill up 
this interval, is the only bridge which, if one 
liiay fay f9, can fmopth its paifage from the one 
objeS to the othf^r. Thus, when we obferve the 
Inotioii of the ifon^ in confequence of that of 
theloadftone, we gaze and helitate, and feel i 
' want 


:raQt of conine^lioa betwixt two events which 

follow one another in fo unufoal a train. But 

when, with Des Cartes, we imagine certain invif 

^ble effluvia to circulate round one of them, and 

by their repeated impulfes to impel the other, 

both to move tpwards it, tad to follow its mo« 

tion, we fill up the interval betwixt them, we 

join them f pgether by a fort of bridge, and thu« 

take o|r that hefitation and difficulty which the 

ifoagination felt in paffiag from the one to the 

other. That the iron Ihould move after the load- 

fione feems, upon this hypothefis, in fome mea« 

fore according to the ordinary courfe of things. 

Motion adter impulfc is an order of fucceffion 

ivith which of all things we are the n^oft famifiax> 

Two o\>|e6|s which are fo conneAed feem hq 

Joiiger.tQ be disjoined, and the imagination flowf 

^moothly^ and eafily along them* 

Such is the nature of this fecqnd ^ecies of 
Wonder, which arifes from an unufual fucceffion 
of things. The ftop which is thereby given tp 
the career of the imagination, the difficulty which 
it finds in paffing along fuch disjointed objeds, 
and the feeling of fpmething like a gap or in* 
tcrvai betwixt them, conftitute the whole ef- 
fence of this emotion. Upon the clear difcove- 
ry of a conneifiing chain of intermediate events^ 
it vaniflies altogether. What obftru^ed the 
movement of the imagination is then removed^ 
Who wonders at the machinery of the opera- 
houfe who has once been admitted behind the 

fcenes ? 



fcenes?" Id the Wondert of nature, however, 
it rardy happens that we can difcoTcrfo clearly 
this cotmefling chain. With regard to a few 
even of them, indeed, we feem to have been 
really admitted behind the fcenes, and our Won- 
der accordingly is entirely at an end. Thus 
the eclipfes of the fun and moon, which once, 
more than all the other appearances in the hea- 
vens, excited the terror and amazement of man^ 
kind, feem now no .longer to be wonderful, 
iince the connefting chain has been found out 
which joins them to the ordinary courfe of 
diings. 'Nay, in thofe cafes in which we have 
been lefs fuccefsful, even the vague hypothefes of 
Pes Cartes, and the yet more indetermined no- 
tions of Ariftotle, have, with their followers, 
fcontributed to give fome coherence to the ap- 
pearances of nature, and might diminifh, though 
they could not deftroy, th^ir Wonder. If they 
did not completely fill up the interval betwixt 
the two disjointed objcfts, they bellowed upon 
them, however, fome fort pf loofe conneflioq 
which they wanted before, 

• That the imagination feels a real difficulty m 
pafllng along two events which follow one ano- 
ther in an uncommon order, may be confirmed 
by many obvious obfervations. If it attempts 
to attend beyond a certain time to a long feries 
of this kind, the continual efforts it is obliged 
to make, in order to pafs from one objeft to 
another, and thus follow the progrefs of the 


BISTORT Of astronomy; *3 

fucceffion, foon fatigue Mt, and if repeated too 
often, diibrder and disjoint itd ivhole frame. 
It is thus that too fevere an application to ftudy 
fometimes brings on lunacy and frenzy, in thofe 
efpecially who are fomewhat advanced in life, 
but whofie imaginations, from being too late in 
applying, have not got thofe habits which diA 
pofe them to follow eafily the* reafonings in the 
aUirad: fcienccs. Every ftep of a demonftra- 
tion, which to an old praftitioner is quite na- 
tural and eafy, requires from them the mod* in- 
tenfe application of thought. Spurred on, how-» 
ever, either by ambition, or by admiration for 
the fubjeS, they ftill continufe till they become, 
firft confufed, then giddy, and at laft diftrad* 
ed. Could we conceive a .perfon of the found* 
eft judgnlent, who had grown up to maturity, 
and whofe imagination had acquired thofe habits, 
and that mold, which the conftitution of things 
in this world neceflarily imprefs upon it, to 
be all at once tranfported alive to fome other 
planet, where nature was governed by laws 
quite diflPerent from thofe which take place 
here; as he would be continually obliged to 
attend to events, which muft to him appear in 
the higheft degree jarring, irregular, and dif- 
cordant, he would foon feel the fame confuiion 
and giddinefs begin to come upon him, which 
would at laft eiid in the fame manner, in lunacy 
and diftradlion. Neithw, to produce this ef- 
feft, is it neceflary that the^ objefts fhould be 
either great or interefting, or even uncommon, 




W themfelves. It is fufficient that they follow 
one. anqtli^r iq ai^ uocoinmoQ order. Let any 
one attempt to look over even a game of cards, 
and to attend panicularly to every fingle ftroke^ 
and if he is unacquainted with the nature and 
rales of the game ; that is, with the laws whicli 
fegu^te the fucceflion pf the cards ; he will foon 
feel the fame cqnfufion and giddinefs begin to 
come upon him^ whicl^ w^je it to bci continued 
for day9 and mon^hb woi^ld $nd in the faoie 
manner^ in lunacy ^nd diftraAion* But if the 
inind be tbu« th^owii intq th« moft violent dif- 
order, when it attends (o a long feriej^ of eventa 
which fqllow one anotheir in ^n wcomnooa 
train, it muft fee^ fome degree of the fi^mc 
diforder:, Y^ben it qbf^rves even a iingle event 
fall out ia this unufual manner: for the vio^, 
lent diforder can arife from nothing but the too^ 
frequent repetition of this iinaller unes^^^efs. 

That it is tl^e ynufualnefs alone of the fueceC* 
(ion which occafions this (lop and interruptioa 
in the progrefs of the imagination, as well as 
^he notion of an interval betwixt the two. im- 
mediately fucce^ing ojbje^s, to be filled up by 
fome cl^in of intern^edi^te events, i^ not lefs, 
evident. The f^me orders of fuccei&on, which 
^o one fet of men feem quite according to the 
natural courfe of things, and fuch as require 
BO intermediate events to join th^m, ihall to. 
anothei^ appear altogether incoh^r^nt and djis^ 
jointed, unlets fome fuch eyeyots b^ fuppofed; 


History ot astronomy: ii 

•fid this for iio dther reifon. But bccauic fach 
orders of fucceffion tre famUiai* to the biic, 
and ftriDge to th^ othen When We entet the 
Irork-faoufes 6f the mdft common artizans ; fuch 
as dyers, brewers, diftillers ; we obferve a num- 
ber of appearances^ which prefent themfelves 
in an order that feems tO us very ftrange and 
wonderfuL Out thought cannot eafily follow 
k, we feel an interval bfetwilt Iftvery two of 
them, and require fome chain of intermediate 
events, to fill it up, ind link them together. 
But the artizan himfelf, who has been for many 
years familiar ^ith the confequences of all the 
operations of his art, feeh no fuch interval. 
They fall in with what cuftom has made the 
natural movement of his imagination : they no 
longer ejccite his Wonder, and if he is not a 
genius fuperior to hid profeffiod, fo as to be ca- 
pable of making the very eafy r^fleftion, that 
thofe things^ though familiar to him, may be 
firange to us^ he will be difpofed rather to 
laugh at, than f3rmpathi2e with bur Wonder. He 
cannot conceive what occaiion there is for any 
connefiing events to uiiite thofe appearances, 
which feem to hitti to fdcceed each other very 
naturally; It is their nature, he tells us, to 
follow one another in this order, and that ac* 
cordingly they always do fo. In the fame man- 
aer bread has, fince the world began, been the 
common nourilhment of the human body, and 
men have fo long feen it, every day, convened 
into flefli and bones, fubftances in all refpe&s fo 
J unlike 

s< History of astronomy* 

unlike it, that they have feldom had the ^urio— 
fity'to inquire by what procefs of intermediate 
events this change is brought about. . Becaufe 
the pafTage of the thought from the one objeft 
to the other is by cuftom become quite fmooth. 
Ibid eafy, almoft without the fuppofition of any 
fuch procefs. Philofopher^/ indeed, who often, 
look for a chain of iuvifible obje£U to join to-r 
gather two events that occur in an order fami- 
liar to all the world, have endeavoured to find 
out a chain of this kind betwixt the two events 
I have juft now mentioned ; in the fame man- 
ner- as they have endeavoured, by the like in- 
termediate chain, to conneA the gravity, the 
elaflicity, and even- the coheiidn of natural bo- 
dies, with fome of their other qualities. Thefe^ 
however, are all of them fuch combinations of 
events as give no ftop to the imaginations of 
the bulk of mankind, as excite no. Wonder» 
nor any apprehenfion that there is wanting the- 
firi£le(t connexion between them. But as in 
thofe founds, which to the greater part of men- 
feem perfe£lly agreeable to meafure and harmo- 
ny, the nicer ear of a mufician will difcover 
a want, both of the moft exa6l time, and of 
thf moft perfed coincidence: fo the more prac* 
tifed thought of a philofopher, who has fpent 
his whole life in the ftudy of the conneding 
principles of. nature, will often feel, an inter- 
val betwixt two obje&s, which, to mote caie*. 
lefs obfervers, feem very ftridly conjoined... By 
Ipng attention to all the C0Aic^iop4 which Jiave. 
L ■ . ever 


ever been prefented to hb obfervationi by faavr 
ing often compared them, with oae anathar,. he 
lias,« like the miificiaQ, acquired,, if one .may fay 
Iby-a nicer ear, aad a more delicate feeling with 
regard to things^f this nature. And. as to. the 
one> that piufia feevis . diflbnance which, falls 
ihort^gf.tbe moft perfe£l }\armoi;iy;' fo to the 
other, thofe ev^ts ieem ^Itogc^ther feparated and 
diajoii^tad, ^whicb |aU (hort ofthe ilr^eft aa4 
moft pi^rfe£l connedion. 

Plulofophy U the. fc^nce of the cqnneding 
prii^ciples of nature. : Nature, afoqr the largeft 
'experience tl^kt. common obferrat ion - can ac^ 
quire, feems to, abound wipk events' which ap- 
pear folitary and incoherent .wi;^, all ^ that go 
before them> whkli therefore .diftuFJ). the eafy 
moyeoient of the imiag^nation ^j whi<^ make its 
ideas fucceed ea^cb other, if one may. fay fo, by 
irre|p)lar ftarts and /allies; and which thus tend,' 
in fome meafure, . to introduce thofe confuiions 
and diftradioqs we formerly mentioned* Phi<i 
lofqphy, by jreprefenting the invifible chains 
whicJi bind togeih^r all thefe disjointed obje^s^ 
endeavours to introdfice Order iQtothis chaod 
of jarring and dtfpordant appearances; to. allay 
this tumult of the imaginatioii, and to reftorv 
it,, when i( furVeys the great revolutions of the 
UQiveife, to that tone of tratiquiUity and cotiH 
pofasc) \i4iichis. both moft agreeable in it£df> 
and' mbft fuilable to its . natiu^' . Pbilofophfy^ 
thcre£ave,'.mi7be.rq^rded a&joniivdf tbofe arts 
'.... wbicfa^ 

«i ttstoRT OF AArmSouit: 

which addrefs themfelveft to the imsigihatidn ^ 
knd whofe theory and hiftory, upon that ac-* 
county fall properly within the circumference of 
our fubje&* Let tis endeavour to take it, from 
its firft origin, up to ihit filmmit of perfedion. 
to which it is at prefent fuppofed to have ar-^ 
rivedt and to which, indeed, it has eq^all^ 
been fuppofed to have arrived in aln^oft aU 
former times. It is the moft fubltme of all th<i 
j^reeable arts, and its revoltitions have been 
the greateft, the moft frequent, and the moil: 
diftinguilhed of all thofe that have happened 
in the literary world. Its hiftory, therefore; 
muft, upon all accounts, hd the moft enter*' 
tatning and the moft inftrudtve. Let us exa;- 
mine, therefore, all the different fyftems of na* 
ture, which, in thefe weftern paits of the Worlds 
the only parts of whoft hiftory wi ki^bw any 
thing, have fucceffively been adopted by the 
learned and ingenious; and, without regarding 
their abfurdity or probability, their agreement 
or inconfiftency with truth and reality, let u» 
eonfider them only in that particular point of 
view which belongs to our fubjed ; and content 
ourfelves with inquiring how far each of them 
was fitted to footh the imagination, and ^ ren* 
der the theatre of nature a more coherent, and 
therefore a more magnififcent fpedacle, than 
otherwife it would have appeared to be. Ac* 
cording as they have failed or focceeded in this^ 
they haire conftamly failed or fucoeeded in gain>* 
iBg reputation and renown to their authors; i 

and I 


and tills wiU be found to be the clew that is 
moft capable of conducing us through all the 
labyrinths of philofophical hifiory : for, in the 
mean time, it will ferve to confirm what has 
gone before, and to throw light upon what is 
to come after, that we obferve, in general, that 
no fyftem, how well foever in other refpe£ls 
fupported, has ever been able to gain any ge* 
neral credit on the world, whofe conne&ing 
principles were not fuch as were familiar to all 
mankind. Why has the chemical philofophy 
in all ages crept along in obfcurity, and been 
fo difregarded by the generality of mankind^ 
while other fyftems, lefs ufefiil, and not more 
agreeable to experience, have poflefled univer- 
fal admiration for whole centuries together} 
The conneAing principles of the chemical phi* 
lofophy are fuch as the generality of mankind 
know nothing about, have rarely feen, and have 
never been acquainted with ; and which to them, 
therefore, are incapable of fmoothing the paf« 
fage of the imaginati(m betwixt any two feem- 
iQgty disjointed objeds. Salts, fulphurs, and 
mercuries, acids, and alkalis, are principles 
which can fmooth things to thofe only who 
live about the furnace; but whofe moft com- 
mon operations feem, to the bulk of mankmd, 
as disjointed as any two events which the che* 
mifts would conned together by them. Thofe 
ardfts, however, naturally explained things to 
themfelves by principles that were familiar to 
^emrelves. As Ariftotle obferves, that the early 

D Pythagoreansj 


Pytlu^reans, who firft fiudied arithinetic, eac^ 
plained til things by the properties of nam* 
bers; and Cicero tells us, that Ariftoxenusj 
the mufician, found the nature of the foul to 
confift in harmony. In the fame manner, a 
kamed phyfician lately gave a fyfiem of moral 
philofophy upon the principles of his own art, 
in which wifdom and virtue were the healthful 
ftate of the foul; the different vices and fol- 
lies, the different difeafes to which it wns fub- 
je6ti 1^ which the caufes and fymptoms of 
thofe difeafes were afcertained ; and, in the fame 
medical firain, m proper method of cure pre- 
fcribed. In the fame manner alfo, others have 
written parallels of painting and poetry, 6f po- 
etry and mufic, of mufic and architedure, of 
beauty and virtue, of all the fine arts ; fyf- 
terns which have univerfally owed their origin 
to the lucubrations of thofe who were ac- 
quainted with the one art, but ignorant of the 
other ; who therefore explained to themfelves 
the phaenomena, in that which Was ftrange to 
them, by thofe in that which was familiar ; and 
with whom, upon that account, the analogy, 
which in other writers gives occafion to a few 
ingeniotis fimihtudes, became the great hinge 
upon which every thing turned. 




Of the Origin of Fhilofophy. 

JVIankind, in the firft ages of fociety, before 
th^ eftabliftimcnt of law, order, and fecjurity, 
have little curiofity to find out thofe hidden chains 
of events which bind together the feemingly dif» 
jointed appearances of nature- A favage, whofc 
fubfiftencc is precarious, whofe life is every day 
erpofed to the nideft dangers, has no inclinatioa 
to aniufe hirafelf with fearching [out what, whea 
difcovered, feems to ferve no other purpofe than 
to render the theatre of nature a more conned- 
ed fpedacle to his imagination. Many of thefe 
fmaller incoherences, which an the courfe of 
things perplex philofophers entirely efcape his 
attention* -Thofe more magnificent irregularis^ 
ties, i;vhofe grandeur he cannot overlook, call 
forth his amazement. Comets, eclipfes, thun- 
der, lightning, and other meteors, by their great- 
nefs, naturally overawe him, and he views them 
with a reverence that approaches to fear. His 
inexperience and uncertainty with regard to eve- 
ry thing about them, how they came, how they 
are to go, what went before, what is to come af- 
ter them, exafperate his fentiment into terror and 
conftcmation. ;But our paffions, as Father Mai-. 
D z branchc 


branche obfcrvcs, all juftify themfelves ; that is, 
fuggeft to us opinions that juftify them- As thofe 
appearances terrify him, therefore, he is difpof- 
cd to believe every thing abotit them which caa 
render them ftill more the objedls of his terror. 
That they proceed from fome intelligent, though 
invifible caiifes, of whofe vengeance and dif> 
pleafure they are either the ligns or the efleds, 
18 the notion of all others mod capable of eii- 
hancing this pafiion; and is that, therefore, \vhich 
he is moll apt to entertain. To this too, that 
cowardice and pulillanimity, fo natural to man in 
his uncivilixed ftate, ftill more difpofes him ; un- 
protedled by the laws of fociety, expofed, de- 
fencelefs, he feels his weaknefs upon all occa* 
fions ; his ftrength and fecurity upon nOne* 

But all the irregularities of nature are not of 
this awful or terrible kind; Some of thfem are 
perfeAly beautiful and agreeable. Thefe, there- 
fore; from the fame impotience of mind, would 
be beheld with love and complacency, and 
even with tranfporta of gratitude; for whatever 
is the caufe of pleafure naturally excites dbr gra* 
titude. A child carefles the fruit that is agreea- 
ble to it, aa it beats the ftone that hurts it. The 
tiotioDa of a favage are not very different; 
The ttieient Athenians, who folemnly puniihed 
the ate which had accidentally been the caufe 
6f the death of a man, ereded altars, and of- 
fei«d facrifices to the rainbow* Sentiments not 
unlike thefe, may fometimesj upon fuch occa- 



fioas, begin to be felt even in the bieafts of the 
moft civilized, but ave prefentlj checked by th^ 
^pefledion^ that the things are not their proper 
objeAs. But a favs^e, whofe notions are guided 
altogether by wild nature and paffion, waits foe 
tio other proof that a thing is the proper objeA 
of any fentiment^ than that it excites it. The 
reverence and gratitude, with which fome of the; 
appearances of nature infpire him, convince hin\ 
that they are the proper objeds of reverence and 
gratitude, a^d therefore proceed from fome in* 
teUigent beings, who take pleafare in the ezpref- 
fions of thofe fentiment^t With him, therefore,^ 
every objeA of nature, which by its beauty or 
gceatnefa, its utility or hurtfulnefs, is confidera* 
ble enough to attract his attenti9^, a^id whole 
operations are not perfeQly regular, is fuppofed 
to 9L& by the dircAioii of fome invi^ble and de- 
. figning power. The k^ is fpread oyt into a calmj^ 
or heaved into a Aorm, according to the good 
pleafure of Neptune. Dqfis the e«rth pour fortfa^ 
an exuberant harveft ^ It is 9wii^ to the induln 
gence of Ceres* I>oe$ the; vine yield a plentiful 
vintage ? It flows froip the bounty of Bacchus. 
Do either refufe their prefents ? It is afcribed to 
the difpleafure^ of thofe offended deitijC^, Thp 
tree, which now flonrifhes, and now d/ecays, is 
inhabited by 4 Dryad, upon whofe henlth, or fick- 
nefs its viuiopa. appearances depend. Th^.foum 
tain, which fpmetimes flows in a copious, and 
fometimes in a fcanty ftream, which appears fon||e« 
times clear and limpid^ and wd |jt other times 



muddy an^>dijfturbed, is affe&ed in all its changes 
by the Naiad whodwelU ^thin it. Hence the 
origin of Polytheifm, and of that vulgar fuper^ 
ftition which aferibes all the irregular events of - 
nature- to the favour or difpleafure of intelligent, 
though invifible beings, to gods, daemons, witched 
genii, fairies.- Fov it may be obferv^d, that ia 
all Polytheiftic religions, among favages, as well 
as in the early ages of Heathen antiquity, it is. 
the irregular events of nature only that are aficrib-* 
cd to the agency and power of their gods. Fire> 
burns, and water refrefhes; heavy bodies de-/ 
fcend, and lighter ][is()ftance8 fly upwards, by the 
neceffity of their own nature; nor was theinvi-^ 
£ble hand of Jupiter ever apprehended to be 
employed in thofe matters. But thunder and 
lightning, ftorms and fun(hine, thofe- more irre«<» 
gular events, were afcribed to his favour, or his 
anger. Man, the only defigning power with 
which they were acquainted, never ads but. ei^ 
ther to ftop, or- toaker the courfe, which natu- 
ral events would take, if left to themfdves^ 
Thofe other intelligent beings, whom they ima- 
gined, but knew iSot, were naturally fuppofed to 
ad in the fame manner; not to employ them* 
felves in fupporting the ordinary courfe of things,* 
which went on of its^ own accord, but to ftop, 
to thwart, and to difturb it. And thus, in the 
firft agesx)f the world, the loweft and moft pu- 
fillanimous fuperftition fupplied the place of phi* 



HKTORT OF A87R0MO]ir/ j^ 

Bot when law has eftabliihed order and fecu- 
rity, afid fubfiftcncc ceafes to be precarious, the 
curiofity of mankind is increafed, and their feart 
are diminiihed. The leifiixc which they then en- 
joy renders them more attentive to the appear-* 
ances of nature, more obfervant of her fmalleft 
irregularities, and more defirous to know whar 
IS the chain which Knks them all together. That 
feme fuch chain fubfifta betwixt all her feemingly 
disjointed phaenomena, they are necefTarily led 
to conceive ; and that magnanimity, and cheer* 
fulnefs, which all generous natures acquire who 
are bred in civiliiqed focieties, where they have 
fo few occafions to feel their weaknefs, and fo 
many to be confcious of their ilrength and fecu- 
lity, renders them Icfs difpofed to employ, for 
this conneAing chain, thofe invifible beings 
whom the fear and ignorance of their rude fore- 
fathers had engendered. Thofe of liberal for** 
tunes, whofe attention is not much occupied ei<* 
ther with bufinefs or with pleafure, can fill up 
the void of their imagination, which is thus dif^ 
engaged from the ordinary affairs of life, no other 
way than by attending to that train of events 
which pafies around them^ While the great ob- 
jeds of nature thus pafs in review before them, 
many things occur in an order to which they 
have not been accuftomed. Their imagination, 
which accompanies with eafe and delight the re-- 
gnlar progrefs of nature, is flopped and embar« 
ra0ed by thofe feeming incoherences; they ex« 
cite their wonder, and feem to require fome 



chain of intermediate events, which, by connec- 
ting them with fomething that has gone before^ 
may thus render the whole courfe of the uaW 
verfe confident and of a piece. Wonder, there- 
fore, and not any expefiation of advantage from 
itsdifcoveries, is the firft principle, which prompts 
mankind to the findy of Philofophy, of that 
Science which pretends to lay opeil the conceal* 
ed connexions that unite the various appearances 
of nature; and they pui^ue this ftud'y for k's 
own fake as an original plealure or good in it* 
lelf, without regarding iu tendencjr to procure 
thein the mean^ of inany other pleaflires. 

Greece, and the Greiek colonies in Sicily, Ha- 
ly, and the Lefler Afia^ were the firft countries 
which, in thefe wefiem parts of the vorfd, ar* 
rived at a ftate of civilized fociety. It was in 
them, therefore, that the firft philofophers, of 
whofe doArine we have any diftiod account, ap- 
peared* Law and ordeic f^^cm indeed to have 
b^cn eftabUflied in the great monarchies of Afia 
and Egypt, long before they had any footing in 
Greece: yet, after all that has been laid con- 
cerning the learning of the Chaldeans and Egyp** 
tians, whether there ever was in tboTe nations any 
thing which deferved the name of fcience, or 
whether that defpotifm which is more deftrudive 
of fecurity and leifure than anarchy itfelf, and 
which prevailed over all the Eaft, prevented the. 
growth of Philofophy, is a queftion which for 


waatof monuments, cjukaot be dcteroaned witl^ 
aay degree of precifion. 

The Greek colonies having been fettled amid 
nations either altogether barbarous> or altogether 
nnwarlike, over whom, therefore, they foon ac- 
quired a very great authority, feem, upon that 
accoont, to have arrived at acpnfiderable degree 
o£ empire and opulence before any ftate in the 
parent country had furmoiinted that extreme po- 
verty, which, by leaving no room for any evi- 
dent diftinAion of ranks, is neceffarily attend- 
ed with the confufion and mifrule which flows 
from a want of all regular fubordiuation. The 
Greek iflands being fecucp from the invafion of 
land armies, or from naval forces, which ^ere 
in thofe days but litde known, feem, upon that 
account too, to have got before the continent in 
all forts of civility and improvement. The firft 
philofophers, therefore, as well as the firft poets, 
feem all to have been natives, either of their co- 
lonies, or of their iflands. It was from thence 
that Homer, Archilochus, Stefichorus, Simo- 
nides, Sappho» Anacreon, derive their birth. 
Thales and Pythagoras, the founders of the two^ 
earliefl: feds of philofophy, arofe, the one in an 
Afiatic colony, the other in an ifland ; and nei- 
ther of themeftabtiflied his fchool in the mother 

What was the particular fyftem of either of 
diofe two phUofophers^ or whether their dovfirine 


i9 jiperroasi OEr ASTKotKjasK. 

'Was fo m^tliodizedr as^ to defervethe nBmeo£ m 
fyftem, the imperfe£lion, aB well as the uncer- 
tainty of all the traditions that have come down 
to us concerning thecQ, makes it impoffibk to de- 
termiBe. The fchool of Pythagoras^ however, 
feem&to have advanced, further in the ftudy of- 
the conaedling principle of nature, than that oF 
the Ionian philofopher. The accouzits which are 
given of Anajsimaader, Anazamenes^ Anaxago- 
ras^ Arehelaus^ the fuocelJbrB of Thalea^ i^pre- 
fent the do£lrines of thofe fages^ as full of the 
rooft inextHcable coafuiion. Something, how- 
ever;,, that approMhcs to a oompofed and oiderlp 
fyftem, may be traced in what is delivered downt 
to us coaeernin^: the do£brioe ofi £mpedooIe»^ 
of Ardh)Has, of TimoKus^ asd^ of Oc^us the 
Lucanian^ the moft renowbed pbiloTophers of 
the Italian fehool. The opinions of thetwo laft 
foincide pretty much;, the one, \nth thofe of 
Plato: the pther, with* thofe of Ariftotle; nor 
db thofe oif the two firft feein to have been very 
different, oif whom the one was the author of 
the dodrine of the Four Elements, the other the 
inventor of the Categories^; who, therefore, may 
be regarded as the founders, the one, of the 
ancient Phyfics; the other, of the ancient Dia^ 
leftic; and, how clofely thcfe were connedied, 
will appear hereafter. It was in the fchool of 
Socrates, however, from Plato and Ariftotle,' 
that Philofophy firft received that form, which 
introduced her, if one may fay fo, to the gene- 
ral acquaintance of the world. It is from thein> 



therefore, that we (hall begin to give her hiftory 
in any detail. Whatever was valuable in the for- 
mer fyftems, which was at all confident with their 
general principles, they feem to have confolidat- 
cd into their own. From the Ionian Philofophy, 
I have not been able. to difcover that they derived 
any thing. From the Pythagorean fchool, both 
Plato and Ariftotle feem to have derived the funda- 
mental principles of almofl all their do£lrines. 
Plato^ too, appears to have borrowed fomething 
from two other feds of philofophers, whofe ex-r 
treme obfcurity feems to have prevented them 
from acquiring themfelves any extenfive reputa^ 
tion : the one was that of Cratylus and Heracli- 
tus; the other was that of Xenophanes, Parme- 
nides, Meliflus, and Zeno. To pretend to ref- 
cue the fyftem of any of thofe* antefocratic fages, 
from that oblivion which at prefent covers them 
all, would be a vain and ufelefs attempt. What 
feems, however, to have been borrowed from 
them, jhall fometimes be marked as we go along. 

There was ftill another fchool of philofophy, 
earlier than Plato, from which, however, he was 
fo far fr'om borrowiog any thing, that he feems to 
have bent the whole force of his reafon to difcre- 
dit and expofe its principles. This was the Philo- 
fophy of Leucippus, Democritus, and Protagoras, 
which accordingly feems to have fubmitted to his 
eloquence^ to have lain dormant, and to have 
been aloioft forgotten for fome generations, till it 
was afterwards more fuccefsfblly revived by £pi- 





Tie Hijlory of Aflronomy* 

WF all the phaenomena of nature, the celeftial 
appearances are, ^ by their ^reatnefs and beauty, 
the moft univerfal pbjcdfl( of the curiofity of man- 
kind. Thofe who furveyed the heavens with the 
moft carelefs attention, iieceflarily diilinguiihed 
in them three different forts of objeds ; the Sun, 
the Moon, and the Stars* Thefe laft, app,earing 
always in the fame fituation, and at the fame dif- 
tance with regard to pnf another, and feeming to 
revolve every day round the f artli in parallel cir- 
cles, which widened gradually from the poles to 
the equator, were naturally thought to liav^ all 
the marks of being fixed, like fo many gems, in 
the concave fide of the firmament, and of bebg 
carried round by the diurnal revolutions of that 
folid body : for the a^vire fky, in which the ftars 
feem to flo^t, was readily apprehended, upon ac* 
count of the uniformity of t^eir apparent modons, 
to be a folid body, the roof or outer wall of the 
univerfe, to whofe infide all thofe little fjparklinj^ 
gbjeds were attache^* 

The Sun and Moon, often changing their diA 
tance and fituation, in regard to the other heaven- 
ly bodies, could not be apprehended to t>e attack- 


bd to tlie fame fpliere with them. They afiigned^ 
therefore, to each of them, a fphere of its own ; 
that is, fuppofed each of them to be attached to 
the concave fide of a folid and tranfparent body^ 
by whofe revolutions they were carried round the 
earth. There was not indeed, in this cafe, the 
iame ground for the fuppofition of fuch a fphere 
as in that of the Fixed Stars ; for neither the Sun 
nor the Moon appear to keep always at the fame 
diftance with regard to any one of the other hea- 
venly bodies. But as the motioh of the Stars had 
been accounted for by an hypothefis of this kind, it 
rendered the theory of the heavens more unifdirm, 
to account for that of. the Sun and Moon in the 
fame manner. The fphere of the Sun they placed 
above that of the Moon ; as the Moon was evi- 
dently feen in eclipfes to pafs betwixt the Sun and 
the Earth. Each of them was fuppofed to revolve 
by a motion of its own, and at the fame time to 
be affeded by the motion of the TxiCcd Stars. 
Thus^ the Sun was carried round from eafi to weft 
by the communicated movement of this outer 
fphere, which produced his diurnal revolutions, 
and the viciflitudes of day and night ; but at the 
fame time he had a motion of his own, contrary 
to this^ from weft to eaft> which ^occafioned his 
annual revolution, and the continual ihifting of 
place with r^ard to the Fixed Stars^ This mo« 
tion was more eafy, they thought, when carried 
on edgeway8> and not in dire^ oppofition to the 
motion of the outer fphere, which occafioned the 
iocltnation of the axis of the fphere of the Sun, 
to that of the fphere of the Fixed Stars; this again 



produced the obliquity of the ecliptic, and th 
confequent changes of the feafons. iThe Moon 
being placed below the fphere of the Sun, hac 
both a fliorter courfe to finifli, aad was lefs ob 
ftrufted by the contrary movement of the fpherc 
of the Fixed Stars, from which fhe was farthei 
removed. She finifhed her period, therefore, in 
a fhorter time, and required but a month, inftead 
of a year, to complete it. 

The Stars, when more attentively furvcyed, 
were fome of them obferved to be lefs conftant and 
uniform in their motions than the reft, and to 
change their fituations with regard to the other 
heavenly bodies; moving generally eafiwards, 
yet appearing fometimes to ftand ftill, and feme- 
times even to move weft wards. Thefe, to the 
number of five, were diftinguiftied by the name of 
Planets, or wandering Stars, and marked with 
the particular appellations of Saturn, Jupiter, 
Mars, Venus, and Mercury. As, like the Sun 
and Moon, they feem to accompany the motion i 
df the Fixed Stars from eaft to weft, but at the 
fame time to have a motion of their own, which 
is generally from weft to eaft ; they were each of 
them, as well as thofe two great lamps of heaven, 
apprehended to be attached to the infide of ^ fo 
lid concave and tranfparent fphere, which had a 
revolution of its own, that was almoft direftly 
contrary to the revolution of the outer heaven, 
but which, at the fame time, was hurried along 
by the fuperior violence and rapidity of this laft. 



This is thcfyftem^ concentric Spheres, the 
firft regular fyftem^ Aftronomy, which the world 
beheld, as it was taught in the Italian fchool be- 
fore A riftotle and his two cotemporary philofo- 
phers, Eudoxus and Callippus, had given it all 
the perfe6lion which it is capable of receiving. 
Though rude and inartificial, it is capable of con- 
tieding together, in the imagination, the grandeft 
and the moft feetningly disjointed appearances ia 
the heavens. *rhe motioils of the moft remarka- 
ble ob^eAs in the celeftial regions, the Sun, the 
Moon, and the Fixed Stars, are fufficiently ton- 
neSed with one another by this hypothefis. The 
eclipfes of thefe two great luminaries are, though 
not fo eafily calculated, as eaiily explained, upon 
this ancient, as upon the modern fyfteni. When 
thefe early philofophers explained to their difci- 
ples the very fimple caufes of thofe dreadful phse- 
^omena, it was under the feal of the moft facred 
fecrecy, that they might avoid the fury of the peo- 
ple, and not incur the imputation of impiety, 
when they thus took from the gods the diredion 
of thofe events, which were apprehended to be 
the moft terrible tokens of, their impending ven- 
geance. The obliquity of the ecliptic, the con- 
Tequent changes of the feafons, the viciflitudes of 
day and night, and the different lengths of both 
days and nights, in the different feafons, corref- 
Jwnd too, pretty exaftly, with this ancient doc- 
trine. And if there had been no other bodies dif- 
coverable in the heavens befides the Sun, the 
Moon^ and the fixed Stars, this old hypothefis 



might htTe ftood tke ezamtni^oQ of all ages, m 
have goae down triuoipluuit to the xttnoteft pof 

If It guned the belief of mankind by its plauli^ 
biUt7> it attraded their wonder and admiratioj]; 
fentiments tliat ftill more confirmed their belief, 
by the novelty and beauty of that view of nature 
which it prefented to the imagination; Before 
this fyftem was taught in the world* the earth was 
regarded as^ what it appears to the eye^ a vafl, 
rough, and irregular plain, the bafis and founda- 
tion of the univerfe, furrounded on all fides by the 
ocean* and whofe roots extended themfelves 
through the whole of that infinite depth whicb is 
below it. The fky was confidered as a folid he- 
inifphere, which covered the earth, and united 
with the ocean at the extremity of the horizon. The 
Sun, the Moon, and all the heavenly bodies rofe 
out of the eaflcm, climbed up the convex fide of 
the heavens, and defcended again into the wefiern 
ocean, and from thence, by fome fubterraneous 
pafTages, returned to their firft chambers in the caff. 
Nor was this notion confined to the people, or to 
the poets who painted the opinions of the people: 
it was held by Xenophanes, the founder of the 
Eleatic philofophy, after that of the Ionian and 
Italian fchopls, the earlieft that appeared in 
Greece. Thalesof Miletus too, who, according 
to Ariftotle, reprefented the Earth as floating upc)a 
an immenfe ocean of water, may have been near- 
ly of the fame opinion ; notwithftanding what we 
are told by Plutarch and Apuleius concerning his 



aftronomical difcoveries, all of which mufl plainly 
have been of a much later date. To thofe who had 
DO other idea of nature^ befides what they de- 
rived from fo confufed an account of things, how 
agreeable muft that fyftem have apjpeared, which 
reprefented the Earth as diftinguiftied imoland 
and witer, felf-baUnced and fufpended la the 
centre of the univerfe, furrounded by the ele* 
ments of Air and Ether, and covered by eight 
poliflied and crillalline Spheres, each of which 
was dillinguifhed by one or more beautiful and 
luminous bodies, and all of which revolved round 
their common centre, by varied, but by equable 
and proportionable motions^ It feems to. have 
been the beauty of this fyftem that gave Plato the 
notion of fomething like an harmonic proportion, 
to be difcovered in the motions and diftances of 
the heavenly bodies ; and which fuggefted to the 
earlier Pythagoreans, the celebrated fancy of the 
Mufick of the Spheres : a wild and romantic idea» 
yet fuch as does not ill correfpond with that ad« 
miration, which fo beautiful a fyftem, recom- 
mended too by the graces of novelty, is* apt to in- 

Whatever are the iiefe^ls which this account of 
things labours under, they are fuch, as to the firft 
obfervers of t!ie heavens could not readily occur. 
If all the motions of the Five Planets cannot, the 
greater part of them may, be eafily conneded by 
it ; they and all their motions are the leaft remar- 
kable objeds in the heavens ; the greater part of 
xaankind take no notice of them at all ; and a 

£ fyftem^ 

^ History o** astronomy. 

fyftem, whofe only defeA lies in the account 
which it gives of them, cannot thereby be ixiucll 
difgraced in their opinion. If fome of the appear-^ 
ances too of the Sun and Moon, the fometimcs 
accelerated and again retarded motions of thole 
luminaries but ill correfpond with it ; thefe too'', 
are fuch as cannot- be difcovered but by the moft 
attentive obfervation, and fuch therefore as we 
cannot wonder that the imaginations of the firft 
enquirers (hould flur over, if one may fay fo, and 
take little notice of. 

It was, however, to remedy thofe defeats, that 
Eudoxus, the friend and auditor of Plato, found 
it neceflary to increafe the number of the Celeftial 
Spheres. Each planet is fometimes obferved to 
advance forward in that eaftward courfe which is 
peculiar to itfelf, fometimes to retire backwards, 
and fometimes again to ftand fiill. To fuppofe 
that the Sphere of thfc Planet ftiould by its own 
motion, if one may fay fo, fometimes roU for- 
wards; fometimes roll backwards, and fometimes 
do neither the one nor the other, is contrary to 
all the natural propeniities of the imagination, 
which accompanies with eafe and delight any re- 
gulal* and orderly motion, but feels itfelf perpe- 
tually ftopJ)ed and interrupted, when it endea- 
vours to attend to one fo defultory and uncertain. 
It would purfue, naturally andof its own accord, 
the dire£l or progreffive movement of the Sphere;^ 
but is every now and then ftiocked, if one may fay 
fo, andturned violently out of its natural career by 


tnstoRY oir astronomy. 47 

the retrogtade and ftationary appearances of thd 
Planet, betwixt which and its more ufual motion, 
the fancy iFeels a Want of connexion, a gap or in- 
terval, which it c::annot fill up, but by fuppofmg 
fonne chain of intermediate events to join them. 
The hypothefis of a number of other fpheres re- 
volving in the heavens, befides thofc in which the 
luminous bodies themfelves were infixed, was the 
cliain with which Eudoxus endeavoured to fupply 
it. He beftowed four of thefe S jpheres upon each 
of the Five Planets; one in which the luminous 
body itfelf revolved, and three others above it. 
£ach of thefe had a regulai* and conftant, but a 
peculiar ihovement of its own, which it communi- 
cated to what was properly the Sphere of the Pla- 
net, knd thus occafioned that diverfity of motions 
obVervable in thofe bodies. One of thefe Spheres, 
for example, had an ofcillatory motion, like the 
circular pendulum of a watch. As when you turn 
round a watch, like a Sphere upon its axis, the 
pendulum will, while turned roiind along. with 
it, ftill cOniiaile to ofcillate, and commuuicaie to 
Ti^hatever body is comprehended within it, both 
its own ofcillations and the circular motion of the 
watch; fo this ofcillating Sphere, being itfelf turn- 
ed round by the motion of the Sphere above it, 
communicated to the Sphere below it, that circu- 
lar, as well as its own ofcillatory motion ; pro- 
duced by the one, the daily revolutions ; by the 
other, the direS, ftationary, and retrograde ap- 
pearances of the Planet, which derived from a 
third Sphere that revolution by which it perforiii- 

£ % ed 


ed its annual period. The motiond of all thdc 
Spheres were in themfelves conftant and equable, 
fuch as the imagination could eafily attend to and 
purfue, and which connected together that other* 
wife incoherent diverfity of movements obfervable 
in the Sphere of the Planet. The motions of the 
Sun and Moon being more regular than thofe of 
the Five Planets, by affigning three Spheres to 
each of them, Eudozus imagined he could con- 
ntSt together all the diverfity of movements difco- 
verable in either. The motion of the Fixed Stars 
being perfeAly regular, one Sphere he judged 
fufficient for them all. So that, according to this 
account, the whole number of Celeftial ^[>heres 
amount^ to twenty-feven. Callippus, though 
fomewhat younger, the cotemporary of Eudoxus, 
found that even this number was not enough to 
conneA together the vaft variety of movements 
which he difcovered in thofe bodies, and therefore 
increafed it to thirty-four. Ariftotle, upon a yet 
inore attentive obfervation, found that even all 
thefe Spheres^ would not be fufficient, a:nd there- 
fore added twenty-two more, which increafed 
their number to fifty-fix. Later obfervers difco^ 
vered ftill new motions, and new inequalities, in 
the heavens. New Spheres wef e therefore ftill to 
be added to the fyflem, and fome of them to be 
placed even above that of t^e Fixed Stars. So that 
in the fixteenth century, when Fracoilorio, fmit 
with the eloquence of Plato and Ariftotle, and 
vntk the regularity and harmony of their fyftem, 
4n itfelf perfedly beautiful, though it correfppnds 



bat inaccurately with the phsenomena^ endeavour- 
ccl-to revive thi9 ancient Aftronomy, which bad 
long given place to that of Ptolemy and Hipparr 
cbu6> he found it neceffary to multiply the num- 
ber of Celeftial Spheres to fevcnty^two j neither 
were all thefe enough. 

This fyftem had now become as intricate and 
complex as thofe appearances themfelves, which 
it had beeil invented to render uniform and cohe- 
rtat. The imagination, therefore, found itfelf 
bat little relieved from that ^mbarr^fTment, into 
which thofe appearances had thrown it, by fo per- 
plexed an account of things. Another fyft^nn, fqx 
this reafon, not long after the days of Ariftotle^ 
was invented by ApoUonius, which was after- 
warrds perfeded by Hipparchus, and Has fince 
been delivered down to us by Ptolemy, the more 
artificial fyftem of Eccentric Sphere^ and Epicy-* . 

In this fyftem, theyfirft diftinguiihM betwixt 
the real and apparent motion of the heavenly bo- 
dies. Thefe, they obferved, upon account of 
their immenfe diftanoe, muft necefTarily appear to 
revolve in circle^ cqncentric with the globe of the 
Earth, and with one another : but that we cannot, 
therefore, be certain that they really revolve ia 
fuch circles, fincc, though they did not, they 
would ftill have the fame appearance. By fup^o- 
fing, therefore, that the Sun and the other Pla* 
nets revolved in circles^ whofe ccmrcsV^re very 



diftaat fropi t^e centre of the Earth ; that con* 
fequemly, in the progrefs of their revoluticux^ 
they mail fometimes approach oearer, and fome^- 
times recede further from it, and muft, thcre- 
fpre, to its inhabitants appear to move fafter ixx, 
the one cafe, and flower in the other, thofe phi- 
lofophers imagined they could account for the 
apparently unequal velocities of aH thofe bodies. 

By fuppofing, that in the folidity of the 
Sphere of each of the Five Planets there va% 
formed another little Sphere, calkd an Epicycle^ 
which revolved round its own centre, a^ the 
fame time that it was carried round the centre of 
the Earth by the revolution of the great Sphere^ 
betwixt whofe concave and convex: fides it was 
inclofed ; in the fame manner as we might fup^ 
pofe a little wheel inclofed within the outer circle 
of a great wheel, and which whirled about feveral 
times upon its own axis, while its centre was ciar-* 
ried round the axis of the great wheel, they ima-^ 
gined thej^cpuld account, for the retrograde and 
ilatiouary appearances of thofe moit irregular 
qbjedls in the heavens. The Planet, they fup- 
pofed, was attached to the circumference, and 
whirled round the centre of this lixtle Sphere, at 
the f^me time that it. was carried round the Earth 
by the movement of the great Sphere. The 
revolution of this little Sphere, or Epicycle, was 
fuch, that the Planet, when in the upper part of 
U ; that is, when furtheQ off and leafl fenEble to 
Hxc eye; was carried rpuad in 'the fame direc*' 



tCotf vith the centre of the Epicycle, or with the 
Sphere in which the Epicycle was inclofed : but 
Mr hen in the lower part, that is, when neareft and 
moft fenfible to the eye; it was carried round in a 
dire&ion contrary to that of the centre of the 
JSpicycle : in the fame manner as every point in 
the upper part of the out^r circle of a coach- 
'wheel revolves forward in the fame dire6^ion 
with the axis, while every point, ip the lower 
part, revolves backwards in a contrary direflion 
to the axis. The motions of the Planet, there- 
fere^ fiirveyed from the Earth appeared direft, 
mhen in the upper part of the Epicycle, and 
xetrograde, when in the lower. When again it 
either defcended from the upper part to the low- 
er, or afcended from the lower to the tipper, itj 
neceflarily appeared ftatipusiry. 

But, though, by the eccentricity of tji^ great 
Sphere, they were thus able, in fome meafure, 
to conned together the unequal velocities of the 
heavenly bodies, and by the revolution of the 
little Sphere, the direft, ftationary, and re- 
trograde appearances of the Planets, there 
was another difficulty that ftill remained. Nei- 
ther the Moon, nor the three fuperior Planets, 
appear always in the fame part of the heavens^ 
TR^hen at their periods of moft retarded mo- 
tion, or when they are fuppofed to be at the 
greateft diftance from the Earth. The apogeum 
therefore, or the point of the greateft diftance 
from the Earth, in the Spheres* of each of thofe 



bodies, muft hkve a movement of ks own, wliicli 
may carry it fucceffivcly through all the differeiit 
points of the Ecliptic. They fuppofed, there- 
fore, that while the great eccentric Sphere re- 
volved eaflwards round it$ centre, that it$ centre 
too revolved weft wards in a circle of its own, 
round the centre of the Earth, and thua carried 
its apogeum through all the different points o| 
the Ecliptic* 

But wUH all thofe combined and perplezed[ 
circles ; though the patrons o/ this fyftem were 
able to give fome degree of uniformity to the real 
direftipns of the Planets, they found it impoffi- 
ble fo to adjuft the velocities of thpfe fuppofed 
Spheres to the phsenomena, as that the revplu* 
tion of aqy of them, when furvfyed from itf 
own centre, ihould appear perfedly equable and 
uniform. From that point, the only point in 
which the velocity of wh^it moves in a circle can 
^)e truly judged of, they would ftill appear irrc- 
gular and inconftant, and fuch as tended to em« 
barrafs and confound the imagination. They 
invented therefore, for each of them, a new 
Circle, called thp Equalizing Circle, from whole 
centre they (hould appear perfeAly equable : that 
is, they fo adjufted the velocities of thcfe Spheres^ 
as that, though the revolution of each of them 
would appear irregular when furveyed from it« 
own qentre, there ihould, however, be a point 
comprehended within its circumference, from 
vrheacc its motions (hould appear to cut off, in 



equal times, equal portion3 of the Circle, of which 
that point wa^ the centre. 

Nothing can paorp evidently fhow, hpw niuch 
the repo^ and tranquility of the imagination isf 
the ultimate end of philoibphy, than the inven* 
tion of this Equalizing Circle. The niQtipns of 
the heavenly bodies had appeared inconftant and 
irregular, botl? in their velocities and in their 
diredlion^. They were fuch, therefore, as tend- 
ed to embarrafs and confound the imagination, 
whenever )t attempted to trace them. The in- 
vention of Eccentric Spheres, of Epicycles, and 
of the revolution of the centres of the Eccen- 
tric Spheres, tended to ^llay thi§ confufion, to 
conned together thofe disjointed appearances, and 
to introduce harmony and order into the mind'j^ 
conception of the movement of thofe bodies. 
It did this, however, but imperfedlly ; it intro^ 
daced uniformity and coherence into their real 
direfiions. But their velocities, when furveyed 
from the only point ^n which the velocity of 
what moves in a Circle can be truly judged of, 
the centre of that Circle, ftill remained, in fome 
meafure, inconftant as before ; and fiill, there- 
fore, embarrafled the imagination. The mind 
found itfelf fomewhat relieved from this embar- 
raffment, when it conceived* that how irregular 
foever the motions of each of ^hofe Circles might 
appear, when furveyed from its own centre, there 
was, however, in each of them, a point, from 
whence its revolution would appear perfeftly 



equable and uniform, and fuch as the imagina^ 
tion could eafily follow. Thofe philofophers 
tranfported themfelves, in fancy, to the centres 
of t^iofe imaginary Circles, and took pleafure in 
furyeyiug from thence, all thofe fantaftical mo- 
tions, arranged, according to that of harmony 
and order, which it had been the end of all their 
refearches to beftow upon them. Here, at laft, 
they enjoyed tranquillity and repofe which they 
Ijad purfued througl^ all the mazes of this 'in- 
tricate hypothefis; and here they beheld this, 
the mo^ beautiful and magnificent part of the 
gre?it theatre of nature, fo difpofed and con- 
:9ru£led, that they could attend, with eafe and 
<^elight, to all the revolutions and changes that 
Qccurred in it, 

Thefe, the Syftem of Concentric, and that of 
]Eccentric Spheres, feeip to have been the two 
Syfiems of Aftronomy, t(iat had moil credit and 
reputation with that part of the ancient world, 
who applied themfelves particularly to tbe ftudy 
of the heavens. Cleauthes, however, and the 
other philofophers of the Stoical fed who came 
^fter him, appear to have had a fyftem of their 
own, quite different from either. But, though 
juftly renowned for their Ikill in dialeflic, and 
for the fecuriiy and fublimity of their moral doc- , 
trines, thofe fages feem never to have had any 
high reputation for their knowledge of the hea- | 
yens ; neither is the name of any one of them 
ever counted in the catalogue of the great aftro^ | 

nomcrs, , 


j^omers^ and ftudious obfervcrs of the Stars, 
^mong the ancients. They rcjefted the doftrinq 
of the Solid Spheres ; and maintained, that the 
celcftial regions were filled with a fluid ether, o£ 
too yielding a ' nature to carry along with it, by 
any motion of its own, bodies fo iromenfely great 
as the Sup, Moon, and Five Planets. Thefc, 
tbcrefore, as well as the Fixed Stars, did not 
derive their motion from the circumambient bo** 
dy, but had each of them,* in itfelf, and pecu- 
liar to itfelf, a vital principle of motion, whiclit 
direfted it to move with its own peculiar velo-r 
city» and its own peculiar direftion. It was by 
this internal principle, that the Fixed Stars rc*» 
Tolycd diredly frpm eaft to weft in circles paral« 
Xel to the Equator, greater br lefs, accgrdhig 
to their diftance or neamefs to the Poles, and 
M^ith velocities fo proportioned, that each of them 
finifhed its diurnal period in the fame time, in 
fomething lefs than twenty-three hours and fifty- 
fix minutes. It was, by a principle of the fame 
kind, that the Sun moved weft wards, for they 
allowed of no eaftward motion in the heavens^ 
but with lefs velocity than the Fixed Stars, fo as 
to finifli his diurnal period in twenty-four hours, 
and, confequendy, to fall every day behind them, 
by a fpace of the heavens nearly equal to that 
which he paffes over ' in four minutes ; that is, 
uearly equal to a degre?. This revolution of the 
Sun, too, was neither dire^ly weft wards, nor 
exafilly circular ; but after the Summer Solftice, 
bis niotion began gradually to incline a little fouth<« 



wards, appearing in his meridian to-day, furtheF 
fouth than yefterday ; and to-morrow ftill further 
fouth than to-day ; and thus continuing every day 
to defcribe a fpiral line round the Earth, which 
carried him gradually fiirther and further fouth- 
wards, till he arrived at the Winter Solfticc- 
Here, this fpiral line began to change its direc- 
tion, and to bring him gradually, every day, 
further and further northwards, till it again rc- 
ftored him to the Summer Solftice^ In the fame 
inanner they accounted for the motion of the 
Moon, and that of the Five Planets, by fuppofing 
that each of them revolved weft wards, but with 
direAions, and velocities, that were both di£fer- 
ent from one anpther, and continually varying j 
generally, however, in fpherical lines, fomewhac 
|acfined tQthe £quatort 

This fyftem feems never to have had the vogue. 
The fyftem of Concentric as well as that of Ec- 
centric Spheres gives fome fort of reafon, both 
for the conftancy and equability of the mqtion of 
the Fixed Stars, and for the variety and uncer- 
tainty of that of the Planets, Each of them be- 
ftow fome fort of coherence upon thofe apparent- 
ly disjointed phsenomena. But t^is other fyftem 
feems to leave them pretty much as it found them. 
A{k a Stoic, why all the fixed Stars perform their 
daily revolutions in circles parallel to each other, 
though of very different diameters, and with ve- 
locities fo proportioned, that they all iinifli their 
^period at the fame time, and through the whole 


HlSTbRir O^ ASTkONOMY. 57 

courfe of it jjpreferve the fame diftance and fitua* 
tion with regard to one another ? He can give no 
other aiifwer> but that the peculiar nature, or 
if one may fay jfo, the caprice of each Star dire£l$ 
it to move in that peculiar manner* His fyftem 
affordii him no principle of connexion, by which 
lie can join together, in his imagination, fogireat 
a number of harmonious revolutions* But either 
of the other two fyftems, by the fuppofition of 
the folid firmament, affordd this eafily. He id 
equally at a lofs to conneA together the peculia- 
rities that are Obferved in the motions of the other 
heavenly bodies ; the f^iral motion of them aU ; 
their Alternate progreffion from north to fouth^ 
and from fouth to north ; the fotnetimes accele- 
>tated, and again retarded motions of the Sun and 
Mo6n ; the direct iretrograde and ilationary ap- 
pearancek of the Planets; All thefe have, in his 
fyflem, no bond of union, but remain as loofe 
and incoherent in the fancy, as they at firft ap- 
peared to the fenfes, befoJre philofophy had at- 
tempted, by giving them a new arrangement, by 
placing them at different diflances, by afiigning 
to eaeh fome peculiar but regular principle of mo- 
tion, to methodize and difpofe them into an order 
that Ihould en^ljle the imagination to pafs as 
fmoothly, and with as little embarrafTment, along 
them, as along the moft regular, familiar^ and 
coherent appearances of nature. 

Such were the fyftems of Aflronomy that,.in 
the ancient world, appear to have been adopted , 


j8 History of astronoi^y. 

by any confiderable party. Of all of them, the 
fyftem of Eccentric Spheres was that which cor* 
refponded moft exaftly with the appearance of 
the heavens. It was not invented till after thofe 
appearances had been obfervcd, with fonie accu-^ 
racy, for more than a century together ; and it 
was not completely digefted by Ptolemy till the 
reign of Antoninus, after a much longer courfc 
of obfervations. We cannot wonder, therefore, 
that it was adapted to a much greater number of 
the phsfenomena, than either of the other two fyf- 
tems, which had been formed before thofe phise- 
nomena were obferVed with any degree of atten- 
tion, which, therefore, could conned them to- 
gether only while they were thus regarded in the 
grofs, but which, it could not be expefted, fliould 
apply to them when they came to be confidered 
in the detail. From the time of Hipparchus, 
therefore, this fyftem feems to have been pretty 
generally received by all thofe who attended par*- 
ticularly to the ftudy of the heavens. That aftro- 
Bomer firft made a catalogue of the Fixed Stars ; 
calculated, for fix hundred years, the revolutions 
of the Sun, Moon, and Five Planets ; marked 
the places in the heavens, in which, during all 
that period, each of thofe bodies fhould appear; 
afcenained the times of the eclipfes of the Sun 
and Moon, and the particular places of the 
Earth in which they fhould be vifible. His cal- 
culations were founded upon this fyftem, and as 
the events correfpouded to his prediftions, with 
a degree of accuracy which^ though inferior 

. to 


to what Aftronomy has fincie arrived at, was great- 
ly fuperior to any thing Avhich the world had 
then known, they afcertained, to all aftrono- 
inets and mathematicians, the preference of his 
lyftem, above all thofe which had been current 
before it. 

It was, however, to aftronomers and mathe- 
maticians only, that they afcertained this ; for, 
notwithftanding the evidetit fuperiority of this 
fyftenj, to all thofe with which the world was thea 
ac(juainted, it was never adopted by any one 
fed of philofophei-s. 

PhiloFophers, long before the days of Hippar- 
cbus, feem to have abandoned the ftudy of nature, 
to employ themfelves chiefly in ethical, rhetori- 
cal, and dialeflical queftions. Each party of them 
too, had by this time completed their peculiar 
fyftem or theory of the univerfe, and no human 
confideration could then have induced them to 
give up any part of it. That fupercilious and ig- 
norant contempt too, with which at this time they 
regarded all mathematicians, among whom they 
counted aftronomers, feems even to have hin- 
dered them from enquiring fo far into their doc- 
trines, as to know what opinions they held. Nei- 
ther Cicero nor Seneca, who have fo often occa- 
fion to mention the ancient fyftems of Aftrono- 
my, take any notice of that of Hipparchus. His 
wme is not to be found in the writings of Seneca. 


iSb iflSTOltY OF ASTkoNOMY- 

It is mentioned but ckct in thofe of Cicero^ in 
letter tb Atticiis, but without anj^ not^ of apprc 
bation» as a geographer, and ndt as an aflronomei 
Plutarch, wheii he counts up, in his lecond boob 
Concerning the opinions of philofopbers, all th 
tocient fyftems of Aftrondiny; never mention 
this, the only tolerable one trhich was known ir 
his time. Thofe three authors^ it feems^ converf 
ed only with the writings of phllofophers. The 
elder Pliny indeed, a ihan whofe curiofity extend- 
ed itfelf equally to every part of learatng, defcribes 
the fyftem 6f Hipparchus, and never mentions its 
author, which he has no occaiidn to do Often, 
without fome note of that high admiration which 
he had fo juftly conceived for his merit. Such 
profound ignorance in thofe profefled inflru&ors 
of mankind, with regard to fo important a part of 
the learning of their own times, is fo very remar- 
kable, that I thought it deferved to be taken no* 
tice of, even in this ihort account of the revolu- 
tions of philofophy. 

Syftems in many refpeQs refemble machines. A 
machine is a little fyflem, created to perform, as 
well as to conned together, in reality, thofe dif- 
ferent movements and effedls which the artift has I 
occafion for. A fyftem is an imaginary machine j 
invented to conned together in the fancy thofe 
different movements and effeds which are already 
in reality performed. The machines that are firft 
invented to perform any particular movement are 



always the njoft complex, and filcceeding artifts 
generally difcover that, Avith fewer wheels, with 
fewer principles of motion, than had originally 
been employed, the fame effeAs may be more 
eafily produced. The firft fyft^ms, in the fame 
manner, are always the moft complex, , and a 
particular connedling chain, or principle, is ge- 
nerally thought neceffary to unite every two feem- 
ingly disjointed appearances : but it often hap- ' 
pens, that one great conneding principle is af- 
terwards found to be fafficient to bind together 
all the difcordant phaenomena that occur in a 
whole fpecies of things, Ho.w many wheels are 
neceffary to carry on the niovements of this ima- 
ginary machinci, the fyft em of Eccentric Spheres! 
The weftward diurnal revolution of the Firma- 
mcnt> whofe rapidity carries all the other hea- 
venly bodies along with it, requires one* The 
periodical eaftward revolutions of the Sun, Moon, 
and Five Planets, require, for each of thofe bo- 
dies, another. Their differently accelerated and 
retarded motions require, that thofe. wheels, or 
circles, fliould neither be concentric with the 
Firmament, nor with one another 5 which, more 
than any thing, feems to difturb the harmony of 
the univcrfe. The retrograde and ftationary ap- 
pearance of the Five Planets, as well as the ex- 
treme inconftancy of the Moon's motion, re- 
quire, for each of them, an Epicycle, another 
little wheel attached to the circumference of the 
great wheel, which ftill more interrupts the uni- 
formity of the fyftem. The motion of the apoge- 

F um 


um of each of thofe bodies requires, in each of 
than, ftill another wheel, to carry the centres of 
their Eccentric Spheres round the centre of the 
Earth* And thus, this imaginary machine, thougli, 
perhaps, more fimple, and certainly better adapt- 
ed to the phenomena than the Fifty-fix Planetary 
Spheres of Ariftotle, wa6 ftill too intricate and 
complex for the imagination to reft in it with com* 
plet^ tranquillity and fatirfaAion. 

It maintained its authority, however, without 
any diminution of reputation, as long as icience 
Was at all regarded in the ancient world. After 
the reign of Antoninus, and, indeed, after the 
age of Hipparchus, who lived almoft three hun- 
dred years before Antoninus, the great repmatioa 
which the earlier philofophers had acquired, fo 
imppfed upon the imaginations of mankind, that 
they feem to have defpair^id of ever equalKng 
their renown. All human wifdom^ they fup- 
pofed, ^as comprehended in the writings of thofe 
elder fages. 'to abridge, to explain, and to com- 
ment upon them, and thus (how themfelves, at 
leaft, capable of underftanding fome of their fub- 
lime myfteries, became now the only probable 
road to reputation; Proclds and Theon wrote 
Commentaries upon the Syftem of Ptolemy ; but, 
to have attertipted to invent a new one, would 
then have been regarded, not as prefumption, but 
as impiety to the memory of their fo miifeh revered i 

The i 


The Tuia of the empire of the Romans, and, 
along With it, the fubvcrfion of all law and order, 
which happened a few centuries afterwards, pro- 
duced the entire negleft of that ftady of the con- 
-DcSing principles of nature, to which leifure 
and fecurity can alone give occafion. After the 
fail of thofe great conquerors and civilizers of 
•mankind, the empire of the Califfs feems to have 
ioeen the firft ftate under which the world enjoyed 
that degree of tranquillity which the cultivation 
sof the fciences requires. It was under the protec- 
-tion of thofe generous and magnificent princes, 
that the ancient philofophy and aftronomy of the 
Greeks were reftored and eftabliftied in the Eaft ; 
that tranquillity, which their mild, juft, and re- 
ligious government diffufed over their vaft empire, 
revived the curiofity of mankind, to inquire into 
the connedling principles of nature. The fame 
of the Greek and Roman learning, which was 
then recent in the memories of men, made them 
defire to know, concerning' thofe abftrufe fubjefls, 
what were the dodirines of the fo much renowned 
fages of thofe two nations. 

They tranflated, therefore, into the Arabian 
language, and ftudied with great eagcrnefs, the 
works of many Greek philofophers, particularly 
of Ariftotle, Ptolemy, Hippocrates, and Galen. 
The fuperiority which they eafily difcovered ia 
them, above the rude eflays which their own na- 
tion bad yet had time to produce, and which were 
fuch, we may fuppofe, as arifc every where in 

F z the 

ii History of astronomy. 

the firft infancy of fcience, ncceffarily detctmia-* 
ed them to embrace their fyftetns, particularly 
that of Aftronomy i neither were they ever after-*- 
wards able to throw off their authority. For^ 
\though the munificence of the Abaffidcs, the fe* 
cend race of the Califfii, is faid to havt fupplied 
the Arabian aftronomers with larger and better 
inftrumcnts, than any that w^e known to Ptole- 
my and Hipparchus, the ftudy of tlie fcienceit 
feems, in that mighty empire, to have been either 
of too fliort, or too interrupted a continuance* 
to allow them to make any confiderable correc- 
tion in the doftrines of thofe old mathematicians^ 
.The imaginations of mankind had not yet got time 
.to grow fo familiar with the ancient fyftems, as to 
regard them without fome degree of that aftonifh* 
ment which their grandeur ^nd novelty e:acited ; 
a novelty of a peculiar kind, which had at once 
the grace- of what was new, and the authority 
of what was ancieiit. They were ftill, therefore^ 
too much enflaved to thofe fyftems, to dare to de- 
part from them^ when thofe confuiions which 
ihook, and at laft overturned the peaceful throne 
of the Califfs, baniflied the ftudy of the fcience 
from that empire^ They had, however, before 
this, made Ibme confiderable improvements : 
they had meafured the obliquity of the Ecliptic, 
with more accuracy than had been done before. 
•■ The tables of Ptolemy had, by the length of time, 
and by the inaccuracy of the obfervations upon 
which they were founded, become altogether 
wide of what was the real iituation of the heaven* 

HISTORY OF astronomy; €f 

ty bodies, as he himfelf indeed had foretold they 
would do. It became neceffary, therefore, to 
form new ones, which was accordingly executed 
by the orders pftheCaliffAlmamon, under whom, 
too, was made the firft menfuration of the Earth^ 
that we know of, after the commencement of the 
ChriAian JErZj by two Arabian aftronomers, who, 
in the plain of Sennaar, meafured two degrees of 
it$ circuipference. 

The viftorious arms of the Saracens carried inV 
to Spain the learning, as well as the gallantry, 
oftheEaft; and along with it, the tables of AI- 
foamon, and the Arabian tranflations of Ptolem}^ 
and Ariftotle ; and thus Europe received a fl(«^ 
cond time, from Babylon, the rudiments of the 
fdence of the heavens. The writings of JPtolemy 
were tranflated from Arabic into Latin ; and this 
Peripatetic philofophy wa^ ftudicd in Averroes 
and Avicenna with as much eagernefs, and with 
as much fubmifiion to its dodirines ia the weftj as 
it had been in the Saft^ 

The doftrine of the Solid Spheres had, origi- 
nally, been invented, in order to give a phyfical 
account of the revolutions of the heavenly bodies, 
according ^o the fyftem of Concentric Circles, to 
which that dodrine was very eafily accommodat-r 
td. Thofe mathematicians who invented the doc- 
trine of Eccentric Circles and Epicycles, con* 
tented themfelves with (hewing, how, by fuppo* 
iing the heavenly bodies to revolve infuch orbit^ 



the pfc*OQmciia tol^t be conneatd togHth^r, 

and fome fort of uniformity and coherence be- 

beftowed upon their real motions. The pby- 

•fical catifes of thofe motions they left to the 

confideration of the philofophers ; though, a» 

appears from fome paffages of Ptolemy, they 

had fome general apprehcnfion, that they Mfere 

to be , explained by a like hypoihefis; But, 

though the fyftem of Hipparchus was adopted 

by all aftronomers and mathematicians, it never 

irafelreceived, as we have already obferved, by 

any one fe£i of philofophers among the ancients, 

JJo attempt^ thwrefiare, been mada 

jWQoagft them, to accommodate to it any fuch 



The fchoolmefi, who received, at once, front 
ihe Arabians, the phildfophy of Ariftbtle, and 
the aftronoiny df Hipparchtis, were netcflarily 
obliged to reconcile them to one another, and 
to conncft together the revolutions of thq Ec-r 
centric Circles and Epicycles of the one, by 
the folid Spheres of the other. Many difFerent 
attempts of this kind were made by niany dif- 
ferent philofophers : but, of them all, that of 
Purbach, in the fifteenth century, was the hap- 
pieft and the moft efteemed. Though his hy* 
pothefis is the fimpleft of any of them, it would 
be in vain to defcribc it without a fchemej 
neither is it eafily intelligible )vith one : for, if 
th« f;^ftem of Eccentric Circles and Epicycles 
WK» before too perplexed aad intricate for the 



imagination to reft in it, with complete- <rafi- 
quillity and fatisfadion, it became much mora 
fo, when thia addition had been made to it. 
The world, juftly indeed, applauded the inge? 
nmty of that philofopher, who could unite, fo 
happily, two fuch feemingly inconfiftent fyf* 
lema. His labours, however, feem rather to 
ha:ve increafed than to have diminiihed the 
caufes of that diflatisfadion, which the learned 
foon began to feel with the fyftem of Ptolemy. 
He, as well as all thofe who had worked upon 
the fame plan before him, by rendering this 
account of things more complex, rendered it 
fiill more embarraffing thsm it had been be^ 

Neither waa the complezneis of this fyfteia 
the fole caufe of the diflatisfaftion, which the 
world in general began, foon after the days of 
Purbach, to exprefs for it. The tables of Pto* 
lemy having, upon account of x\^ inaccuracy 
i>f the obfervations on which they were £>ux^ 
ed, become altogether wide of the real fituation 
of the heavenly bodies, thofe of Almamon, ia 
the ninth century, were, upon the fame hypo^ 
theiis, compofed to cprred their deviations. 
Thefe again, a few ages afterwards, became» 
for the fame reafon, equally ufelefe. In the 
thirteenth century, Alphonfus, the philofophi* 
cal king of Caftile, found it necefiary to give 
orders for the compoiition of thoie tables, vhich 
bear his name. It is h?, wl^o i» fo well knomi 



for the whimfical impiety of ufing to fay, that, 
had he been confuhed at the creation of the- 
tiniverfe, he could have given good advice ; 
an apophthegm which is fuppofed to have pro- 
ceeded from his diflike to the intricate fyftem 
of Ptolemy. In the fifteenth century, the de-^ 
viation of the Alphonfine tables begaa to be 
as fenfibte, as thofe of Ptolemy and Almamon 
had been before. It appeared evident, there-, 
fore, that, though the fyftem of Ptolemy might, 
in the main, be true, certain correftions were 
necefiary to be made in it before it could be 
brought to correfpond with exa6l preciiion to 
the phaenomena. For the revolution of his 
Eccentric Circles and Epicycles, fuppofing them 
to cxift, could not, it was evident, be precifely 
fuch as he reprefented them^ iince the revolu- 
tions of the heavenly bpdies deviated, in a 
ihort time, fo widely from what the moft exatA 
calculations, that were founded upon his hy- 
potheiis, reprefented them. It had plainly, 
therefore, become neceflary to correft, by more 
accurate obfervations, both the velocities and 
dire^ions of all the wheels and circles of which 
his hypothefis is compofed. This, accordingly, 
was begun by Purbach, and carried on by Re- 
giomontanus, the difciple, the continuator, and 
the perfeder of the fyftem of Purbach; and 
one, wh9fe untimely death, . amidft innumerable 
projects, for the recovery of old, and the in- 
vention and advancement of new fciences,* is, 
tjven at this day, to be regretted, 



Mi^hcn you have convinced the world, that 
an eftablifhed fyftem ought to be corredlcd, it 
is not very difficult to pcrfuade them that it 
ihould be deftroyed. Not long, therefore, after 
the death of Regioipontanus, Coperoicus began 
to meditate a new fyftem, which ftiould connect 
together the celeftial appearances, in a more 
fimple as well as 4 more accurate manner, than 
that of Ptolemv* 

nrhe cenfufion, in which the old hypothefia 
reprefented the motions "of the heavenly bo*? 
dies, was, he tells us, what firft fuggefled to 
him the deiign of forming a new fyftem, that 
thefe, the nobleft works of nature, might no 
loager appear devoid of that harmony and pro- 
portion which difcover themfelves in her mean*- 
eft productions. What moft of all diffatisfied 
hina, was, the notion of the Equalizing Circle, 
which, by reprefenting the revolutions of the 
Celeftial Spheres, as equable only, when fur^ 
veyed from a point that was different from their 
centers, introduced a real inequality into their 
motions ; contrary to that moft natural, and 
indeed fundamental idea, with which all the 
authors of aftropomical fyftems, Plato, Eudox- 
us, Ariftotle, even Hipparchus and Ptolemy 
themfelves, had hitherto fct out, that the real 
motions of fuch beautiful and divine obje6ls 
muft neceffarily be perfefily regular, and go on, 
in a manner, as agreeable to the imagination, 
as the obje^ls themfelves are to the fenfes. 


He began to confider, therefore, whether, by 
fuppofing the heavenly bodies to be arranged 
in a different order from that in which Arif-» 
totle and Hipparchus had placed them, this fo 
much fought for uniformity might not be be- 
llowed upon their motions. To difcovcr this 
^rangement, he examined all the obfcure tra- 
ditions delivered down to ns, concerning every 
other hypoiliefis wbicl^ the ancients had invent- 
ed, for the fan^e purpofe, He found, in Plu- 
tarch, that fomc old Pythagoreans had repre- 
feuted the Earth as revolving in the centre of 
the univerfe, likp a wheel round its own axis ; 
and that others^ oif the faipe fe6l, had removed 
it from the centre^ and reprefented it as re- 
volving in the Ecliptic like a flar round the cen- 
tral fire. By this central fire, he fuppofed they 
meant the Sun; and though in this he waa 
very widely mifiaken, it wa^, it feems, upon 
this interpretation, that he began to confider 
^low fach an hypothefis might be made to cor^ 
refpond to the appearances. Th<; fuppofed au- 
thority of thofe old philpfophers, if it did not 
originally fuggeft to him his fyftem, feems, sit 
leaft, to hav^ confirmed him in an opinion, 
which, it is not impiobable, that be had be* 
fore-hand other reafon? for embracing, notwitb- 
Handing what he himfelf woqid affirm to the 
It then occurred to him, that, if the Earth 
was fuppofed to revolve every day round iu 



xls> from weft to eaft, all the heavenly bodies 
I'ould appear to revolve, in a contrary dircc- 
ion, from eaft to weft. The diurnal revolution 
>f tlic heavens, upon this hypothefis, might be 
3nly apparent ; the firmament, which has no 
otker fenfible motion, might be perfeftly at reft; 
while the Sun, the Moon, and the Five Pla- 
nets, might have no other movement befidc that 
eaQward revolution, which is peculiar to them- 
fclves. That, by fuppofmg the Earth to revolve 
with the Planets, round the Sun, in an orbit, 
w hich comprehended within it / the orbits of 
Venus and Mercury, but was comprehended 
withia thofe of Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn, he 
could, without the embarraffiqent of Epicycles, 
coaiie6t together the apparent annual revolu-* 
tions of the Sun, and the dired, retrograde, 
and ftationary appearances of the Planets : that 
while the Earth really revolved round the Sua 
on one fide of the heayens, the Sun would ap- 
pear to revolve round the Earth on the other ; 
that while fhe really advanced in her annual 
courfe, he would appear to advance eaftward 
10 that movement which is peculiar to himfelf. 
That, by fuppofing the axis of the Earth to be 
always parallel to itfelf, not to be quite per* 
pendicular, but fomewhat inclined to the plane 
of her orbit, and confequently to prefent to the 
Sun, the one pole when on the one fide of him, 
and the other when on the other, he would 
account for the obliquity of the Ecliptic; the 
Sun's feemingly alternate progrefi^n frorn north 



to fouth, and from fouth to nortb, the confe<r 
quent change of the feafons, and difierent 
lengths of days and nights in the differeat fea- 

If this new hypothefis thus connefled toge- 
ther all thefe appearances as happily as that of 
Ptolemy, there were others which it conne&ed 
together much better. The three fuperior Pla- 
nets, when nearly in conjundlion with the Sun, 
appear always at the greateft diftancc from the 
Earth, are fmalleft, and lead fenfible to the eye, 
and feem to revolve forward in their dire6l 
motion with the greateft rapidity, • On the con- 
^ary, when in oppofition to the Sun, that is, 
-when in their meridiaii about midnight, they 
appear neareft the Earth, are largeft, and moft 
fenfible to the eye, and feem to revolve back- 
ivards in their retrograde motion. To explain 
thefe appearances, the fyftcm of Ptolemy fup- 
pofed each of thefe Planets to be at the upper 
part of their feveral Epicycles, . in the one cafe; 
and at the lower, in the other. But it afford- 
ed no fatiefa&ory principle of connexion, which 
could lead the mind eafily to conceive how the 
Epicycles of thofe Planets, whofe fpheres were 
fo diftant from the fphere of the Sun, ihould 
thus, if one may fay fo, keep time to his mo- 
tion, The fyftem of Copernicus afforded this 
eafily, and like a more fimple machine, withr 
out the affiftance of Epicycles, conne&ed toge- 
ther, by fewer movements, the complex ap- 


pearacced of the heavens. When the fuperior 
Planets appear nearly in conjundion with the 
Sun, they are then in the fide of iheir orbits, 
which is almoft oppdfite to, and moft diftant 
from the Earth, and therefore appear fmalleft, 
and leaft fenfible to the eye. But, as they then 
revolve in a dirc6lion which is almoft contrary 
to that of the Earth, they appear to advance 
forward with double velocity; as a fliip, that 
fails in a contrary diredion to another, appears 
from that other, to fail both with its own ve- 
locity, and the velocity of that from which it is 
feen. On the contrary, when thofe Planets arc 
in oppoiition to the Sun, they are on the fame 
fide of the Sun with the Earth, are neareft it, 
moft fenfible to the eye, and revolve in the 
fame dircftion with it ; but, as their revolutions 
round the Sun are flower than that of the Earth, 
they are neceffarily left behind by it, and there- 
fore feem to revolve backwards; as a ftiip 
which fails flower than another, though it 
fails in the fame diredlion, appears from that 
other to. fail backwards. After the fame man- 
ner, by the fame annual revolution of the 
Earth, he connedled together the direft and 
retrograde motions of the two inferior Planets, 
as well as the ftationary appearances of all the 

There are. fome other particjalar phaenomena 
of the two inferior Planets, which correfpond 
ilill better to this fyftem, and ftill worfe to 



that of Ptolemy. Venus and Mercury fe^m 
attend conftamly upon the motion of the Su 
appearing, fometimes on the one fide, and foaii 
times on the other, of that great luminarj 
Mercury being almoft always buried in his ray; 
and Venus never receding above forty-eight dc 
grees from him, contrary to what is obfervei 
in the other three Planets, which are oftei 
feen in the oppofite fide of the heavens, a 
the great eft poffible diftance from the Sun. The 
fyftem of Ptolemy accounted for this, by fup- 
pofing that the centers of the Epicycles oi 
thefe two Planets were always in the fame line 
with thofc of the Sun and the Earth ; that they 
appeared therefore in conjunAion with the Sun, 
when either in the upper or lower part of their 
Epicycles, and at the grcateft diftance from 
him, when in the fides of them. It affigned, 
however, no reafon why the Epicycles of thefe 
two Planets ftiould obfervc fo different a rule 
from that which takes place in thofe of the 
other three, nor for the enormous Epicycle of 
Venus, whofe fides muft have been forty-eight 
degrees diftant from the Sun, while its center 
was in conjundion with him, and whofe dia- 
meter muft have covered more than a quadrant 
of the Great Circle. But how cafily all tbcfc 
appearances coincide with the hypothefis, which 
reprcfents thofe two inferior Planets revolviflg 
round the Sun in orbits comprehended within 
the orbit of the Earth, is too obvious to require 
an explanation. i 



Thus far did tbis new account of things render 
the appearances of the heavens more complete- 
ly coherent than had been done by any of the 
former fyftems. It did this, too, by a more fim- 
ple and intelligible, as well as more beautiful 
machinery. It reprefented the Sun, the great 
enlightener of the univerfe, whofe body was 
alone larger than all the Planets taken together, 
as eftablifhed immoveable in the center, ftied- 
ding light and heat on all the worlds that circu- 
lated around him in one uniform direftion, but 
m longer or Ihortcr periods, according to their 
different diftances. It took away the diurnal 
revolution of the firmament, whofe rapidity, 
upon the old hypothefis, was beyond what even 
thought could conceive. It not only delivered 
the imagindticFn from the embarrafltnent of Epi- 
cycles, but from the difficulty of conceiving 
thefe two oppofite motions going on at the fame 
time, which the fyftem of Ptolemy and Arifto- 
tle bellowed upon all the Planets ; I mean, their 
diurnal weftward, and periodical eaftward revo- 
lutions. The Earth's revolution round its owa 
axis took away the neceffity for fuppofmg the 
firft, and the fecond was eafily conceived when 
by itfelf. The Five Planets, which feem, upon 
all other fyftems, to be objedls of a. fpecies by 
ihemfdves, unlike to every thing to which the 
imagination has been accuftomed, when fuppof- 
cd to revolve along with the Earth round the 
Sun, were naturally apprehended to be objects 
of the fame kind with the Earth, habitable, 



opaque, and enlightened only by the rays of thd 
Sun. And thus this hypothefis, by clafling them 
in the fame fpecies of things, with an oLjefi 
that is of all others the moft familiar to us, 
took off that wonder and uncertainty which the 
ftrangenefs and fingularity of their appearance 
had excited ; and thus far, too, better aafwered 
the great end of Philofophy. 

Neither did the beauty and fimplicity oi this 
fyftem alone recommend it to the imagination ; 
the novelty and unexpedednefs of that view of 
nature, which it opened to the fancy, excited 
more wonder and furprife than the ftrangeft of 
thofe appearances, which it had been invented 
to render natural and familiar, and thefc fenti- 
ments flill more endeared it. For, though it is 
the end of Philofophy, to allay that wonder, 
which either the unufual or feemingly disjointed 
appearances of nature excite, yet (he never tri- 
umphs fo much, as when, in order to conne£k 
together a few, in themfelves, perhaps, inconfi- 
derable objefts, ihe has, if I may fay fo, creat* 
ed another conftitution of things, more natural 
indeed, and fuch as the imagination can more 
eafily attend to, but more new, more contrary to 
common opinion and expedation, than any of 
thofe appearances themfelves- As, in the in- 
flance before us, in order to conned together 
fome feeming irregularities in the heavens, and \ 
^ of which the greater part of mankind have no 
QCcaHon to take any notice during the whole I 



courfe of their lives, Ihe has, to talk in the hy- 
perbolical language af Tycho-Brahe, raaved tl^e 
Earth from its foundations, ftopt the revolution 
of the Firmament, miade the Sun (land ftill, and 
fubverted the whole order of the Univerfe. 

Such were the advantages of this new hypo- 
ihcfis, as they appeared to its author, when he 
firft invented it. But, though that love of para- 
dox:, fo natural to the learned, and that pleafure, 
which they are fo apt to take in exciting, by the 
novelty of their fuppofed difcovcrics, the amaze- 
ment of mankind, may, notwithftanding what 
one of his difciples tells us to the contrary, have 
had its weight in prompting Copernicus to adopt 
this fyftem ; yet, when he had completed his Trea- 
life of Revolutions, and began coolly to confider 
what a ftrange do&rine he was about to offer to 
the world, he fo much dreaded the prejudice of 
mankind againft it, that, by a fpecies of conti- 
nence, of all others the moft difficult to a philo- 
fopher, he detained it in his clofet for thirty 
years together. At laft, in the extremity of old 
age, he allowed it to be extorted from him, but 
died as foon as it was printed, and before it was 

When it appeared in the world, it was almoft 
univcrfally difapproved of, by the learned as well 
as by the ignorant. The natural prejudices of 
fenfe, confirmed by education, prevailed tpo 
much with both to allow them to give it a fair 
G examination. 

^t fflSTOUT 69 ASTHONOMf- 

cxeminration. A few difcipks only;, wliom lie 
himfelf had inftru&ed in his dodriDe, received 
it with efieem and admiration. One of them, 
Reinholdus, forced, npon this hypothefis, larger 
and more acci/rate afironomical tables, than what 
accompanied the Treatife of Revolutions^ ia 
which Copernicus^ had been guilty of fome er* 
K>rs in calculation. It foon appeared^ that thefe 
Prutenic Tables, as they were called^ eorre- 
fponded more exaAly with the heaTcns, than the 
Tables of Alphonfus. This ought naturally to 
have formed a prejudice in favour of the dili« 
genee and accuracy of Copernicus in obferving 
the heavens. But it ought to have formed none 
In favour of his hypothefis; fince the fame ob- 
fervations, and the refult of the fame calcula** 
tions^ might have been accommodated to the fyf- 
tern of Ptolemy, without making any greater al- 
teration in that fyftem than what Ptolemy had 
^orefeen, and had even foretold fhould be made^ 

*It formed, however, a prejudice in favour of 
both, and the learned began to examine, with 
feme attention, an hypothefis which afforded the 
eafieft methods of calculation, and upon which 
the moft exaA prediS;ions had been made«' The 

\ fuperior degree of coherence, which it beftewed 
upon the celeftial appearances, the fimplicity 
which it introduced into the real direAtons and 
Velocities of the Planets, foon difpofed many af- 
tronomers, iirft to favour, and at laft to embrace 
ft fyftem, which thus connedied together fo hap- 
pily, the mofk disjointed of thofe objeds that 


History o» ASTioNoMT. ^ 

thiefly Occupied their thoughts. Nor can any 
thing more evidently demonftratc> how eafily 
the learned give up th^ evidence of their fenfcs 
to l^refcrve the coherence of the ideas of theii» / 
imagiiiation, than the readinefs with which this, 
the moil violent paradox in all philofophy, was 
adopted by taiany in$2^enious aftronomers^ not^ 
withtftanding its jnconfiftency with every fyftem 
of phyfics then known in the world, and not* 
withftanding the great number of other more real 
objedlions, to which, as Copernicus left it, thia 
account of things was moil juilly ezpofed. 

It was adapted, however, nor can this be won- 
dered at, by ailronomers only. The learned in 
all other fciences, continued to regard it with the 
fame contempt as the vulgar^ Even ailronomers 
were divided about its merit ; and many of them 
rejeded a dodrine, which not only contradided 
the cilabliihed fyilem of Natural Philofophy, 
but which, coniidered ailronomically only, Teem- 
ed to labour under feveral difficulties. 

Some of the objedions againil the motion of 
the Earth, that were drawn from the prejudices 
of fenfe, the patrons of this fyilem, indeed, ea- 
fily enough, got oven They reprefented, that 
the Earth might really be in motion, though, to 
its inhabitants, it feemed to be at reil ; and that 
the Sun, and Fixed Stars, might really be at reiV, 
though froni the Earth they feemed tp be in mo- 
tion ; in the fame manner as a ihip, which fails 
G z ^ through 


through a fmooth fea, feems to thoFe who are ih 
hi to be at reft, though really in motion ; while 
the objeds which Ihe pafies along, fcem to be ia 
motion, though really at reft. 

But there were fome other objedions, which^ 
though grounded upon the fame natural prejudi- 
ces, they found it more difficult to get over. 
The Earth had always prefented itfelf to the 
fcnfes, not only as at reft, but as inert,' ponder- 
ous^ and even averfe to motion* The iinagina-^ 
tion had always been accuftomed to conceive it 
as fuch» and fuffered the greateft violence, when 
c4>liged to purfue, and attend it, in that rapid, 
motion which the fyftem of Copernicus beftowed 
upon it. To enforce their ohjedion, the adver- 
fanes of this hypotheiis were at pains to .calcu- 
late the extreme rapidity of this motion. They 
reprefented, that the circumference of the Earth 
had been computed to be above twenty-t,hree 
thoufand miles : if the Earth; therefore, was fup^ 
I)ofed to revolve eveiiy day round its axis, eve* 
ry point of it near the equator would pafs over 
above twenty-three thoufand miles in a day; 
and confequently, near a thoufand miles in an 
hour, and about fixteen miles in a minute; a 
motion more rapid than that of a cannon ball, 
or even than the fwifter progrefs of found. The 
rapidity of its periodical revolution was yet more 
violent than that of its' diurnal rotation. How, 
therefore, could the imagination ever conceive 
fo ponderous a body to be naturally eadowed 
• with 


^th fo dreadful a movement? The Peripatetio 
Philofophy, the only philofophy then known in 
the world, ftill further c<mfirmed this prejudice. 
That philofophy, by a very natural, though, 
perhaps, groundlefs diftinaion, divided all mor 
tion into Natural and Violent, Natural motion 
was that which flowed from an innate tendency 
in the body, as when a ftone fell downwards; 
Violent motion, that which arofe from external 
force^ and which was, in fome mcafure, con^. 
trary to the natural tendency of the body, aa 
when a ftone was thrown upwards, or horizon-i 
uUy. No violent motion could be lafting; for, 
being conftantly weakened by the natural ten- 
dency of the body, it would foon be«leftroyed. 
The natural motion of the Earth, as was evi, 
dent in all its parts, was dowi^wards, in a ftrait 
line to the center; as that of fire and air was 
upwards, in a ftrait line from the center. It 
was the heavens only that revolved n^urally 
in a circle. Neither, therefore, the fuppofcd 
revolution of the Earth round ita own center, 
nor that round the Sun, could be natural mor 
tions ; they muft therefore be violent, and cour 
fequently could be of no long continuance. It 
was in vain that Copernicus replied, that gra- 
vity was, probably, nothing elfe befides a ten- 
dency in the different parts of the fame Planet, 
to unite themfelves to one another; that this 
tendency took place, probably, in the parts 
of the other Planets, as well as in thofe of the 
Earth; tl^at it could very well be united with a 



dreular iiiotiorir that it migltt bq eqwlly natu* 
ral to the whole body of the Planet, and. to 
every part of it ; that his advcrfaries thcinfelves 
allowed, that a circular motion was natural to 
the heavens, whofe diurnal rerolution \vas in- 
finitely more rapid than even that motion which 
he had beftowed upon the Earth ; that thoitgh 
a like motion was natural to the Earth, it 
would ftill appear to be at reft to its inhabi-' 
tants, and all the parts of it to tend iu a ilrait 
lifie to the center, in the fame manna* as at 
prefent. But this anfwer, how fatisfa£lory fo- 
ever it may appear to be now, neither did nor 
eould appear to be fatisfadlory then. By ftd* 
xhhting tbt diftiuAion between natural and vi« 
dent moticms, it was founded upon the fame 
^orance of mechanical principks with the ob* 
je6tion. The fyftcms of Ariftotle and Hippar* 
thus fuppofed, indeed, the diurnal motion of 
the hAvenly bodies to be infinitely more rapid 
than 'even that dreadful movement which Co- 
pernicus beftowed upon the Earth. But they 
juppofed, at the fame time, that thofe bodies 
were obje^s of a 'quite differem fpecies, from 
toy we are acquainted with, near the furface 
of the Earth, and to which, therefore, it was 
lefs difficult to conceive that any fort of motion 
might be natural, Thofe objefts, befides, had 
Saever prefented themfetves to the. fenfcs, as 
tnoving otherv^(ife, or with lefe rapidity, than 
thefe fyftettis reprefented them. The imagina- 
tion} tb$refo«e^ could fed no difficulty in fol- 


lov^g a reprefentatioa wln^h the fe&fes had 
rendered quite familiar to it. But when thf 
Planets came to be regarded as (6 many Earths, 
the cafe was quite altered. The imaginati<>o 
had been accuftomed to conceive fuch obje£la 
as tending rather to reft than motion ; and thi^ 
idea of their natural inertnefs, encumbered, if 
ime may fay fo» and clogged its flighty when- 
tver it endeavoured to purfue them in their pe^ 
Tiodical courfes, and to conceive them as con^ 
tinually ruffaing through the celeftial fpaces> with 
fieh violent and unremitting rapidity* 

Jlor were the firft followers of Copernicus 
IMre fortunate in their anfwers to feme othe( 
objeftions, which werie founded indeed in the 
fme ignorance of the laws of motion^ but 
which, at the fame time, were neceflTarily con- 
neAed with that way of conceiving tfaingi, 
which then prevailed univerlally in the ]learne4 

If the Earth, it wa$ faid, revolved fo ra-» 
pidly from weft to eaft, a perpetual wind would 
let in from ea(^ to weft, more violent tha^ what 
blows in the greateft hurricane ; a ftone, thrown 
weftwards, would fly to a much greater difr 
tance than one thrown with the fame force; fsaft? 
wards t as what moved in a dire&ion, fsontraty 
to the motion of the Earth, would necefiarily 
pais over a greater portion <^ its farhcHs than 
what, with the fame velocity, iwed^long'with 



it. A ball, it was ftid, dropt from the maft of 
a Ihip under fail, . does not fall prfecifely at the 
foot of the maft, but behind it ; and in the fame 
manner, a ftone dropt from a high tower would 
not, upon the fuppofition of the Earth'a mo- 
tion, fall precifely at the bottom of the tower, 
but weft of it, the Earth being, in the mead 
time, carried away caftward from below it. It 
is amuiing to obferve, by what fubtile ^and me^ 
taphyiical evafions the followers of Copernicus 
endeavoured to elude this obje^lipn, which, be- 
fore the dodrine of the Compofition of Mptioq 
had been explained by Galileo, was altogether 
unanfwerable. They allowed, that 9, hall dropt 
from the maft of a ihip under fail would not fall 
at the foot of the maft, but behind it ; becaufe 
the hall, they faid, was no part of the ftiip, and 
becaufe the motion of the ftiip was natural nei- 
ther to itfelf nor to the ball. But the ftone 
. wa$ a part of the earth, and the diurnal and 
annual revolutions of the Earth were namral 
to the whole, and to every part of it, and 
therefore to the ftone. The ftone, therefore, 
having naturally the fame motion with the Earth, 
fell precifely at the bottom of the tower. But 
this anfwer could not fatisfy the imagiuatioo, 
which ftill found it difficult to conceive how 
thefe motions could be natural to the Earth; 
or how a body, which has always prefented 
itfelf to the fenfes as inert, ponderous, and 
gverfe tQ nc^ioa^ ftiould aaturaUy be continu- 


aUy Mfheeling about both its own axis and the 

Sun, with fuch violent rapidity. It was, be-? 

fides, argue^ by Tycho Brahc, upon the prin- 

«:iples of the fame philofophy, which had' f^f- 

ibrded both the objcdion and the anfwer, that 

even upon the fuppofition, that any fuch mch 

tion w^5 natural to the whole body of the Earth, 

yet the ftone, which wa* feparated frora it, could 

po longer be a^qated by th^t motion. The 

}imb, which is cut off from an animal, lofe$ 

^fe animal motions which were i^atural to the 

whole. The branch, which is cut p^ from the 

trunk, lofps that vegetative motion which is 

natural to the whole tre^« Even the ipe- 

uls, minerals, and ftones, which are dug 

out from the bofom of the Earth, lofe thofe 

motions which occafioned their produdlion and 

encrea£^^ ;ind which were natural to them in 

their original flate. Though the diurnal and 

annual motion of thfs Earth, therefore, h^d 

been natural to them, while they were containeid 

in its bofpm ; it could no longer be fp wfaei^ 

Uicy were fppamed ff om it, 

Tycho Brahe, the great reftorer of the fcience 
pf the heavens, who had fpent his life, and 
wafted hi$ fortune, upon the advancement of 
Afironomy, whofe obferv^tions were both more 
numerous ^nd more accurate than thofe of all 
the aftronomers who had gone before him, was 
himfelf fo much ^fie^i^d by the force of this 



obje6lion, that, though he never mentioned tho 
fyftem of Copernicus without fome note of the 
high admiration' he had conceived for its au« 
thor, he could never himfelf be induced to em^ 
brace it : yet all his aftronomical obfervations 
tended to confirm it. They demondrated, that 
Venus and Mercury were fometimes above, and 
fometimes below the Sun j and that, confequent» 
ly, the Sun, and not the Earth, was the center 
of their periodical rcvoliftions. They fliowed, 
that Mars, when in his meridian at midnight, 
vras nearer to the Earth than the Earth is to th^ 
Sun; though, when in conjun£iion with the 
Bun, he was much more remote from the Earth 
than that luminary j a difcovery which was ab* 
folutely inconfiftent with the fyiftem of Ptolemy, 
vhich proved, that the Sun, and not the Earth, 
was the center of the periodical revolutions of 
Mars, as well a& of Venus and Mercury; and 
which demonftrated, that the Earth was placed 
betwixt the orbits of Mars and Venus, They 
tnade the fame thing probable with «gard to 
Jupiter and Saturn; that they, too, revolved 
round the Sun; and that, therefore, the Sun, if 
xiot the center of the univerfe, was at leaft, that 
of the planetary fyftem. They proved, that 
Comets were fuperior to the Moon, and moved 
through the heavens in all poflible diredlions; 
an obfervation incompatible with the Solid 
Spheres of Ariftotle and Purbach, and which, 
therefore, overturned the phyfical part, at Icaft, 
of the eftabliihed Aftronomy, 



All thefe obfcrvations, joined to his averfiou 
to the fyftem, and perhaps, notwithftanding the 
generofity of his charader, fome little jealoufy of 
the fame of Copernicus, fuggefted to Tycho the 
idea of a new hypothefis, in which the. Earth 
continued to be, as in the old account, thft im- 
moveable center of the univerfe, round which the 
firmament revolved every day from eaft to weft, 
and, by fome fecret virtue, carried the Sun, the 
Moon, and the Five Planets along with it, not«» 
withflanding t^i^rr immenfe diftance, and not* 
withftanding that there was nothing betwixt it and 
them but the moft f)ui4 ether. But, although all 
thefe feven bodies thus obeyed the diurnal revo* 
lotion of the Firmament, they had each of them, 
as in the old fyftem, too, a contrary periodical 
eaftward revplution of their own, which made 
them appear to be every day, more or lefs, left 
behind by the Firmament. The Sun was the 
center of the periodical revolutions of the Five 
Planets j the Earth, that of the Spn and Moon. 
The Five Plaints followed the Sun in his periodi* 
cal revolution tound the Earth, as they did the 
Firmament in its diurnal rotation. The three fu- 
perior Planets comprehended the Earth within 
the orbit in which they revolved round the Sun, 
and had each of them an Epicycle to conne6l to- 
gether, in the fame manne!: as in the fyftem of 
Ptolemy> their dired, retrograde, and ftationa- 
ry appearances. As, notwithftanding their im- 
jnenfe diftance, they fdlowed the fun in his pe- 
riodical revolution round the Earth, keeping al« 



ways at an equal diftance from him, they were 
^^eceflarily brought much nearer to the Earth 
when in oppofition to the Sun, than when in 
conjunftion with him. Mars, the neareft ofthemy 
when in his meridian at midnight, came within 
the orbit which the Sun defcribed round the 
Earth, and confequently was then nearer to the 
Earth than the Earth was to the Sun. The appear- 
ances of the two inferior Planpts were explained, 
in the fame manner, a$ in the jyftem of Coperni- 
cus, and confequeptly required no Epicycle to 
conncfl them. The circles in which the Five 
Planets performed their periodical revolutions 
round the Syn, ^s well ^s thofe in which the Sua 
and Moon performed theirs round the Earth, 
were, as both in the old and new hypothefis. 
Eccentric Circles, to connect together their diir 
ferently accelerated and retarded i^ot^Qns^^ 

Such was th? fyftem of Tycho Brahe, com^ 
pounded, as is evident, out of thefe of Ptolemy 
find Copernicus; happier than that of Ptolemy, 
in the account which it gives of the motions of 
the two inferior Planets ; qiore complex, byfup- 
poiing the different revolutions of all the Five to 
be' performed round two ditferent centers ; the 
diurnal roqnd the Earth, the periodical round tlie 
Sun J but, in every refpeft, more complex and 
more incoherent than that of Copernicus. Such, 
however, was the difficulty that mankind felt in 
conceiving the motion of the Earth, that it long 
balanced the reputation of that otherwife niore 



beautiful fyftem. It may be faid, that thofc who 
confidered the heavens only, favoured the fyf* 
tem of Copernicus, which connected fo happUy 
ail the appearances which prefented themfelves 
there ^ But that thofe who looked upon the Earth, 
adopted the account of Tycho Brahe, which« 
leaving it at reft in the center of the univerfcj 
did lefs violence to the ufual habits of the imagi*^ 
nation. The learne(^ were, indeed, fenfible of 
tbe intricacy, and of the many incoherences of 
that fyflem ; that it gave no account why the 
Sun, Moon, and Five Planets, fhould follow the 
revolution of the Firmament ; or why the Five 
Planets, notwithilanding the immenfe diftance of 
the three fuperior ones, Ihould obey the periodic 
cal motion of the Sun ; or why the Earth, though 
placed bet^neen the orbits of Mars and Venus, 
ihould remain immoveable in the center of the 
Firmament, and conftantly refift the influence of 
whatever it was, which carried bodies that were 
fo much larger than itfelf, and that were placed 
on all fides of it, periodically round the Sun. 
Ty^ho Brahe died before he had fully explained 
his fyftem. His great and merited renown difpof* 
ed many of the learned to believe, that, had hie 
life been longer, he would have conneded toge- 
ther many of thefe incoherences, and knew me* 
thods of adapting his fyftem to fome other appear- 
ances, with which none of his followers could 
conned it. 



The objcdion'to the fyiiem of Copernicu.^ 
which was drawn from the nature of motion, am 
that was moft infifted on by Tycho Brahe> wai 
at laft fully anfwered by Galileo j not, however 
till about thirty years after the death of Tycho 
. and about a hundred after that of Copernicus. Ii 
' was then that Galileo, by explaining the nature 
of the compofition of motion, by ihowiog, both 
from reafon and experience, that a ball dropt from 
the maft of a (hip under fail would fall precifely 
* at the foot of the mafi, and by rendering this 
do£hine, from a *great number of other inflances, 
quite familiar to the imagination, took off, per- 
haps, the principal objeftion which had been 
made to this hypothecs. 

Several other aftronomical difl&culties, which 
encumbered this account of things, were remov- 
ed by the fame phllofopher. Copernicus, after 
altering the center of the world, and making the 
Earth, and all the Planets revolve round the Sun, 
was obliged to leave the Moon to revolve round 
the Earth as before. But no example of any fuch 
fecondary Planet having then been difcovered in 
the heavens, there feemed flill to be this irregu-* 
larity remaining in the fyftem. Galileo, who firft 
applied telefcopes to Aftro'nomy, difcovered, by 
their afliftance, the Satellites of Jupiter, which, 
revolving round that Planet, at the fame time that 
they were carried along with it in its revolution, 
round either the Earth or the Sun, made it feeni 
iefs contrary to the analogy of nature, that the 

Moon j 


Moon ftiould both revolve round the Earth, and 
accompany her in her revolution round the Sun. 

It had been obje£led to Copernicus, that, iif 
Venus and Mercury revolved round the Sun, in 
an orbit comprehended within the orbit of the 
Earth, they would ihow all the fame phafes with 
the Moon, prefent, fometimes their darkened, 
and fometimes their enlightened fides to the Earth, 
and fometimes part of the one, and part of the 
other* He anfwered, that they undoubtedly did 
all this ; but that their fmallnefs and diftance hin- 
dered us from perceiving it. This very bold af- 
fertion of Copernicus was confirmed by Oaliieo. 
His telefcopcs rendered the phafes of Venus quite 
fenfible, and thus demonftrated, more evidently 
than had been done, even by the obfervations of 
Tycho Bfahe, the revolution of thefe two Planets 
round the Sun, as well as fo far deftroyed the fyf- 
tem of Ptolemy. 

The mountains and feas, which, by the help 
of the fame inftrument, he difcovered, or ima- 
gined he had difcovered in the Moon, rendered 
that Planet, in every refped, fimilar to the Earth, 
made it feem lefs contrary to the analogy of na- 
ture, that, as the Moon revolved round the 
Earth, the Earth ftiould revolve round the Sun. 

The fpots which, in the fame manner, he dif- 
covered in the Sun, demonftraiing, by their mo- 
tion, the revolution of the Sun round his ajcis, 



xhade it feem lefs improbable that the £&rth, fl 
body fo much fmaller than the SttD» Ihould re-j 
volve round her axis in the fame manner. 

Succeeding telefcopical obfervations difcover- 
ed^ in each of the Five Planets^ fpots not un- 
like thofe which Galileo had obferved in the 
Moon, and thereby feemed to demonftrate what 
Copernicus had only C0DJe6lured, that the Pla- 
nets were naturally opaque, enlightened ouly 
by the rays of the Sun, habitable, diverfified 
by feas and mountains, and, in every refped» 
bodies of the fame kind with the Earth ; and 
thus added one other probability to this fyftem. 
By difcovering toOj that each of the Planets 
revolved round its own axis, at the fame limt 
that it was carried round either the Earth or 
the Sun, they made it feem quite agreeable to 
the analogy of nature, that the Earth, which, 
in every other refpeft, refembled the Planets, 
ihould, like them too, revolve round its owa 
axis, and at the fame time perform its periodical 
motion round the Sun. 

While, in Italy, the unfortunate Galileo wa« 
adding fo many probabilities to the fyftem of 
Copernicus^ there was another philofophcr em- 
ploying himfelf in Germany, to afcertain, cor- 
Tt&, and improve it: Kepler, with great genius, 
but without the tafte, or the order and method 
of Galileo, pofleffed, like all his other coun- 
trymen, the moft laborious induftry, joined to 



tliat pafllon foe difcovering ppoportioos and re- 
feuitlances bctwia the difiereot parts Of naturt; 
^wHict, tfaougbfcomihon to all philoropbers, fecai9» 
ia hiaiy to Hslys been exceifi>x. He had been 
ioRVudfed, hy Mteftlious, in the fyftem of Go- 
^ermcas; aud his firft cuxiofity was, as he tells 
tis, t6 finidtmi, why the Planets^ the Earth 
being couatfcd for one, were Six ia ndmberf 
why they were placed at fuch irregular diftanccs 
iVom the Sun ; and whether tbeife was any uni' 
fortn pr6portion betwixt theit feveral diftancesr, 
'and the times ein'ployed in their .periodical re-> 
Vormidns. Till feme reafon, or proportion of 
thfii kind, could be difcovcmd, the fyftem did 
cot appear to him to be cofapktely coherent; 
He endeavoured, iirft, to find it ia the proptn> 
'tions of numbers, and plaih figureii. ; afterwards^ 
In thofe of the regular folids; and, laft of aU» 
in thofe of the mafical divifions of the O&scvc^ 
Whatever was the fcience which Kepler was 
iludying', he feems conftaatly to have pleafed 
himfelf with finding fome analogy betwixt it and 
the fyftem of the univerfc; and thus, arithmetio 
and mufic, plain and folid geoflbctry, came all 
of them by turns to illuftrate the do&rine of the 
Sphere, in the explaining of which he was, by 
his profeffion, principally employed. Tycho 
Brahe, to whom he bad prefenied one of his 
books, though he could not but difapprove of 
his/iy&exn, was pleafed, however, with his ge- 
nius, and with his indefatigable diligence in 
making the moft laborious calculatibns. That 

H generous 

U HiSTOitT of AST&dlCOkT. 

gefierOHs and ota^nificeiit Dane iu^rited tiie ob-* 
fcure and indigent Kepler to come and live 
with him, and communicated to Imh ^ ^<^^ ^ 
he ai-rived, his obfervatioiift tpon Mars, in the 
arranging and methodidng of which his difci- 
plc^ were at that time employed. Kepler, upon 
Comparing them with one another^ founds that 
the orbit of Mars was not a perfed circle; that 
ene of its diameters was fomewhat longer than 
the other; and that it approached to an oyaI» 
•r an ellipfe, which had the Sun plskred in one 
of its foci^ He founds too, that the motion of 
the Planet wa$ not equable; that it was fwifceft 
wh^n nearefi the Son^ and floweft when furtheft 
from htm; and that its velocity gradually en* 
cveafed, or dimioidied, according as it approach- 
fd or retcded from him. The obferrations of 
the fame aftronomer difcoveted to him, though 
not lb evidently, that th^ fame things were true 
aif all the other Planets; th^ their orbits were 
elliptical, and that their motions w^fe fwifteft 
when neareft the Sun, and flowed when furtheft 
from him. They ihowed the fame things, t<K), 
of the Sun^ if fuppofed to revolve round the 
Earth ; and confequ^ntly of the Eartl^ if fup- 
pofed to revolve rolmd the Sunv 

That the motions of all the heavenly bodies 
trere perfe&ly circular, had been the fundament 
tal idea, upon which every aftnmomical hypo* 
thefis, except the irregular one of the Stoics, 
had been built. A circle^ ae the degree of its 


ttmrature is eTttery \vheni the fami^ Ic of |U 

curve IiQes the iiinplefl aid^ th< ^B$9ft et^. oim- 

ccivcd. \ Since it wafe evidpntj tl^reforc^ ttet 

the heavenly hodiea didnpt niQ^e m.flrait.lines> 

the indphent iinagia^tSoH founds that it could 

tooft eafily mead ta their oiotipbs if they *fwre 

fup|K>rei^ ta involve in perfect cindes^ It ihid> 

Tipon this account^ deterqiinf^ that a iariidar 

motidn was the mod perfed of all motions, and 

that none hujt the mofk petffSk |np(iOdi c<>uld be 

worthy of fttch b(e&^ti6il a^d cKviae olyeAi;. and 

it had iipob this ai3Kiottnt» fo i>ft€la, in vaia^ <1dl'» 

deavoured M^ad^ft to thct appearanires^ fo minf 

different l^ftcnis, which all fi^ippo^d itheorta^e* 

tolve isL thii tajuu^en 

the e4^aiky of th^ mi3t]dns Was tmother foft* 
damental idea^ whieh, in the fame maniier» ai^ 
for the fame ]:^afoo» wa* fuppefed* by all the 
founders of dlrdnomical fyftema* I^or an equal 
Hiotibn can be mo^e eafily attended to^ thaa 
one that i$ continually either accelerated or 
retarded^ All intonftancy, therefore, was ^- 
clared to be unMrorthy thofe bodies whieh re* 
Volved in the celeftial regiona^ and to be 4t 
only for inferior tnd fublunary things. The 
caleuktiona of Kepler oteiiimied, with regat^ 
to the Planets, both tfaefe ilatural prejudices of 
the isiag^natioiii deftroyed their circular orbits; 
tnd introduced intd their teal motions, fuch aa 
inequality aa no equalising drde would remedy. 
h wad» however^ to render thck meliona pcv^ 
Hz feaiy 

llteAly e^u4W^^ ^hhdtit c^eu.the Uffiftafice of in 

• equajizing tftfcte, that Copernietij, aaf he htiA- 
: <clf aflurci t«, had originally irivintcd his fj^- 

tcm.: Sjtiw th^ cikfiktionS of Kcplef, there- 
fore, overturned what Coperiifcui had ]f)rinci- 
opMy in view in eftiblifhing his fyftem, wc can- 
c'HOt wondot ^at thcj^ (houkl at firft feem rather 
tatixd>arraf8 thafi ifB^rove i^ 

' ft is true, bf thefe iillS^tfcil ortits'and ttn- 
/ equal moiiofi^ Kepler difengaged the fyftem 
'f»>a'the enibahraffmeiit of'thofe ftnall Epicf^ 
(dfe«, ivMeh Cdperniefts, in order to' connedl 
'At ftemingl^ iceelerated and i^et^rded move- 
ments of the Planets with their fuppofed retil 
equality, had been obliged to leave in it. For 
kjia MmarkftMe, thdt though Cbjlfermcus had 
idelivcred the orbits of the Planets from tife 
^exioi'iiiouB Epie^les of Hipparchus, that though 
; in ; this confided the great fuperiority of hia fyf- 
*tem abovie tim of the ancient aftrondmers, he 
wai yet obliged, hitnfelf) to abandon^ in fome 
nifcafure, . ihk »ivantage^ and to make ufe of 
•fomc foiall Epicydes, to join ' together thofc 
sfeeming irrefuljorities^ ' His Eprcycles indeed, 
rUke the irregularities for whofe fake they were 
introduced, 'were but fmaU oacs,^ and the ima- 
Iginations of his firft foUoiwers feem^ accord- 
;illg}ip, either \o ^haTe florred them over altoge- 
Ather, or fcarcely Iso have -obferved them. Nel- 
tlier Galileo// nor Gafiendi» the two moft elo- 
-quent of kis^ dcienders, take ^iny notice of them. 

• - Nor 

^??:. .^ojf ; it .%^ so chiyp b*ei%: «ei<(n|^ at. 
tpadcd tp, t}ii$it |foaiip,wa$ wy fijcfe tMog w E|^ 
c^cjes ip. tj»e J&fte» of Cop^nicus, till Kepler, 
in. o/der to ; -^ikJk^KS ^m own -jdUptjjcil orbits, 
i|ilifted,. that cHen^ afiftpjdiii^ to. Ccipespicus, th« 
bpdy of thc;.piji^<«,ww.t*.b».iia»ad bjat «> 
c>7o difieKot ^pl^c^ io .ifae .. «ir«tti|i)fenence of 
t}^at circle whicJ^ tj^ pentfs of :}^ £pi^cle de< 
^^xed,. ... . 1 i 

IfQcis ^fter a circlc> tl^e ii,mpleft aid jaoft eaiily 

4^oaceiyed; aod it i« uvie, b^iidea-^Utbis* tbat> 

vbilc Kcpljcr tojpli .ffj»na:thc jnj)jio« of the Plar 

^t9 th? efgeft ff al); pfopbtuox^i that of equa^. 

lity, h<? 4id n(?t Je^v/j tbfiw abf<)lwitely withoor 

^ae, hut: fififro?»»?4' 1*1^ rplie bj^ which their 

vdociti^a H9Qfi<ma|ly T^ri^;. for » genius fo 

£}ad of sia^ogiee, fihpa he h4d takep away 

one, wonl4 be fure to A^bftUpt;^} ap^otfaer ia it$ 

loom, ^otwit^^aqdi^g ^U tbi#y Pf^wUhftaud- 

ipg tba^ hia fyfiem w^$ b^tt^r fuppqvted by obr 

fervs^tion^ tban any fyitepi had evev b^en before^ 

yet, fuch wa^ the ^ttaehqient xq the equal pio^ 

tioDs. and circular. prbifB pf the PUoets, that 

it feems, fctrrftprm^ time, to have been in gene* 

ral but little aMiended to by the learned, to 

have been altogether pegk^d by philofo^ 

phersi an4 vot.inuQhi regarded eten by afti^ 


J r 

9r isfntnv tof Aiitoseatr. 

-CratAfldi;, who began ia figure in tlie WMifd 
about th^ latter days of Kepler, and who waa^ 
bimf^lf no mean aftronoffier^ feema indeed to haw 
conceived a good deal of efteem for bis diHgpncc 
md acouralry in accomiiQdatHig^ rhc obfenratiooa 
ffg Tycbo Bvahe to xhm fyftem of Copernicus* 
But Gafibndi appears to kayehad'9pcoinpr()ien- 
fioB of t)^ importj^ce of tbofe alterationa which 
Kepler had made in that fyftem, as is eyident 
from 1^18 fcarcely ever (neation],n| thepi in the 
wholo couHe of his volwnmous writinga npon 
AftrooioiBy. D^s Cartes, the ^p.temporary and 
i£val of Gaiiendi> feem^ to fcfav^ paid no atten* 
tion to them at all, but to havf built kia Theory 
of (be H^avens> without any re^rd to them. 
Sven thof^ j^ftrononlerS) whom a ferious atten* 
tion had oonvinced of the juftn^ fi of his corrcc* 
tioni, wcre-fiiftfo ^JnaAKnifed wifb the circular 
orbits and equal moffions, that they endf avonred 
to compound hia fy|tem> with tbofe ancient, but 
natural prejodieee. That, Ward endeavoured 
to ihow that, though the Planets moved ip ellip- 
tical orbits, w&ich bad the Sqn in on^ of t|;ieir 
foci, and thouj^ their velocitiea in the ellipti- 
cal Rne were continually varying, yet, if a ray 
was fuppofed to be extended from the center of 
any one of them to the other 6>eu8, and to be 
carried along by the periodical motion of the 
Pknet, it would make equal angles in equal times, 
and confequently cut off equal portions of the 
circle of which that other focus was the center. 
To one, therefore, placed in that focus^ the mo- 


tMm of the Planet would appear 19 be per&QIj 
eircular aqd perfedly equable, in the fame inan- as in tbe Squalixing Circles of Ptolemy and 
liipparelma. Thus Bouillaud, who cenfured this 
kjrpothefia of Warcj^ invented another of the 
fame kind, infinitely more whimfical and caprif 
ciout. Thte PUnets, according to that aftrono- 
mer, always revolve in circles ; for that being 
the moft periled figure, it is impofilble the]{f 
ihould revolve in any other. No one of theai» 
howeveri continues tq move in any one cirde^ 
but is perpetually pafling from one to another^ 
through all infinite pumber of circles, in tb^ 
courfe of each revolution ; for an ellipfe, laid he, 
is an oblique ^ion of ^ cone, and in a cone, 
betwixt the two vortices fif th^ ellipfe there is 
an infinite number qf circles, out of the infi^ 
aitely fmall pqrtions of which the elliptical line 
]s compounded. The Plftnet, tb^efore, which 
moves in this line, is^ in every poinf of \^ mov? 
ing in an infinitely fmall portion pf a cerui^ cir^ 
cle. The motion of each Planet, foo^ according 
to him, was nef^flarily, for the fame: ifftSQn, per- 
feAly eqoable^ A^ equable motion being the 
moft perfeA of s^U motions^ It was not, how^ 
ver, in the elliptical line, that it was equable, 
but in my one of the circles that were parallel 
to tbe bafe of that cone, by whofis fe^ion thia 
cUipticai Hue had been formed ; for, if a ray was 
extended ftom the Planet to any one of tbofe 
circks, and carried along by its periodical mo** 
uoQ> it would cut eff equal portions of that cir* 




"cle in equal times ; another moft fantafticat eqma* 
liziiig circle, fnpported by another fbund^tion 
befi^^s theirivolous connexion betwiirt a con« 
and an ellipfc, and recommended by nbtbing but 
the naturarpaflion for circular orbits and cqunble 
xnotidns. It may be regarded as the bill eft>rt of 
this paffion, and may fervc to fhow tlie ibrce 
of that principle which could thus oblige thi^ ao? 
curate obferver, and great improver of the Tbco^ 
ry of the Heavens, to adopt To ft range an ^hypo- 
thefis. Such was the difficulty and hefitation 
with which the followers of Copernicus adopted 
the correftions oiP Kepler, 

* The rule, indeed, which Kepkr afcettainecl 
fprdetermining the gradual acceleration or retar« 
dation in the movement of the Planets, was in- 
tricate, and difficult to be comprehended; it 
could therefore but little facilitate the progrefa of 
the imagination in tracing thofe revolutions which 
were fuppofed to be condu£led by it. According 
to that aftronomer, if a firait line was drawn from 
the center of each Planet to the Sun, and carri- 
ed along by the periodical motion of the Planet, 
it would defcribe equal areas in oqual times, 
though the Planet did not pafs ovier equal fpaces ; 
and the fame rule, he found, took place nearly 
with regard to the Moou. l*he imaginatioD, 
when acc^uainted with the law by which any mo- 
tion is accelerated or retarded, can follow and at- 
tend to it more eafily, than when at a lofsi, and^ 
as it were, wandesing in uncertainty with xe^ 



gard ip the prpportion which regulates its v«ric* 
lie^ ; tl^ difcqvery of thi^ analogy therefore, nq 
4ovibt> rendered the fyftetp qf Kepler more a- 
gree^ble to the natural tafte of maokind : it was, 
howeyei:, an analogy too difficult to be followed, 
or coiiipre{)ended, to reader it completely fo. 

Kepler, hjeiides this, introduced ^pother ne\T 
tnalogy into the fyftem, and firft difcovered, tha^ 
there was pne uniform relation obferved betwixt 
|he diftan^^es of the Planets from the Sun, and 
|he times employed in their periodical piotions. 
He foui^,- tt^at their perjoc^ic^l tiqies \v^ere great- 
er than in proportion t9 their diftan(:es, ai;d l^fs 
than in proportion tp the fquares of thofe dif- 
tances ; but, t^at they were nearly as the mean 
proportionals betv^i^t their difiances and the 
fquares of their diftancesj or, in other words, 
that the fquares of theiif periodical times were 
nearly as the cubes of theif di(tai^ces; ^n analog 
gy, which^ though, like al^ others, it no doubt 
rendered the fy^lem fon^<;what more diftind and 
comprehenfi^le, was, how;ever, as well as the 
former^ of too intricate a nature to facilitate ve- 
ry .mych t^e effort qf t||ie ima^nation in conceiv- 
ing it. 

The tru^h of both thefe analogies, intricate as 
they were, was at laft fully eft abliihed by the 
pbfervations of Ca0ini. That aftronomer firft 
difcovered, that the fecondary Planets of Jupi- 
ter andSatimi revolve^ xoimd their primary; 




ones^ according to the fame laws wbick Kepler 
had obfervcd ki the revplutipns of the primarj 
ones round tb^ Sijn, and that of the Moon round 
the earth ; that each of them dcfcribed equal 
areas in equal times, atid that the fquares of their 
periodic times were as the cubes of their dif- 
tances. When thefe two laft abftrufc analogies, 
which, when Kepler at firft obferved them, were 
but little regarded, had been thua found to take 
place in the revolutions of the Four Satellites 
of Jupiter, and in thofe of the Five of Saturn, 
they were now thought not only to confirm the 
doilrine of Kepler, but to add a new probabi- 
lity to the Copernican hypoihefis. The obfer- 
TatiQus of Caffini feem to eftablifh it as a law of 
the fyftem, that, when one body revolved round 
another, itdefcribed equal areas in equal times ; 
and that, when feveral revolved round the fame 
body, the fquares of their periodic times were 
as the cubes of their diftances. If the Earth 
and the Five Planets were fuppofcd to revolve 
round the Sun, thefe laws, it was faid, would 
take place univerfally. But if, according to the 
fyftcm of Ptolemy, the Sun, Moon, and Five 
Planets were fuppofed to revolve round the 
Es^rth, the periodical motions of the Sun and 
Moon would, indeed, obferve the firft of thefe 
laws, would each of them defcribe equal areas 
in equal times ; but they would not obferve the i 
fecond, the fquares of their periodic times would 
not be as the cubes of their diftances : and the 
^revolutions of the Rvc Planeta would obferve 


neither the ooe law nor the other. 6r if» kt^ 
tordmg to the fyi^em of Tycho Brahf, \he fivt 
Planets were fuppofed to reYolve round the Snn, 
while the St^n aiMi Moon revolved round the 
EartK, the revoIntioDS of the Five Planet? round 
theStrn> wottl(). Indeed, bbferve both thefe laws; 
but thofe of the Sun and Moon round the Earth 
would obferve only the firft of them. The ana- 
logy of nature, therefore, could be preferved 
completely, according to no qther fyttem but that 
of Copernicus, which, upon that account^ mvft 
be the trap one. This argument is regarded by 
Voltaire, and the Cardinal of Ppfignac, as an ir- 
refragable demonfiratron j evep M* Laurin, who 
was more capable of judging ; nay, New^n him- 
fc\f, feems to mention it as one of the principal 
evidences for thd truth of that hypothefis. Yet^ 
an analogy of this kind, it would feeni, far from 
a demonifaration, could afiord, at moft, but the 
fluidow of a probability. 

It is true, that though Caffini fuppofed thePIa- 
nets to revolve in an oblong curve, it was in ^ 
curve fomewhat different from that of Kepler. 
In the eltipfe the fum of the two lines, which are 
drawn from any one point ^n the circumference to 
the two foci, is always equal to that of thofe 
which arc drawn from any other point in the cir- 
^mference to the fame foci. In the curve of 
Caflini, it is not the fum of the lines, but the rec- 
tangles which are contained under the lines, that 
are always equal. As this« however^ was a pro-' 


^rtioB ipB^re difficult '^o be cpiDpreheaded i^wn, 

we.;; :'.,.-. 

. I^QthiQg DOW j^mbarca^Ied the fyftem of Copwv 
Bicus, biit the difficulty wl^icb the iipagioatioii 
felt in Qfincpivjing tfodies fp iqimenfely j^ooderou^ 
^3 the Earth, and thcothpr Plapet^, revolving 
round the; Spp }fviih fucb incredible rapidity. I^ 
wa^ in vain th^t pppefpicif^ pretendpd» that, 
notwithft^ndipg the prejudices of feuiie, this cir? 
cular motiqn might be a^ na(ura} tq the Fleets, 
as it is tQ a.ftone to £^\\ to the grppndr The ifpar 
^nation had been ^c9ufto)iied to coniceive fuch 
objeds ^s tending rather, fo reft, than mbtioiu 
'^f'his habitual |dea of their natural ;nertnefs was 
incompatible with that of their natural niotion. 
It was in vain that Kepler, iq order to affift the 
fancy jii conn<p6ling tqg^ether this natural inertnefs 
"Vvith theirj aftonifhmg velocities, talked of fpin^ 
vital and immaterial virtue, which was fbed by 
the Sun into the furrounding fpaces, which was 
whirled about with his reyolqtion round his own 
a^is, and which, taking hold qf the PUnet$, forc- 
ed them, in fpit^ of their ponderoufnefs and 
ftrong prqpenfity to reft, thi;s to whirl about the 
center of the fyftem. The iipaginatiqn h»d ao 
hold of this immaterial virtue, and could form no 
determipate idea of wh^t it confifted in. The 
imagination, indeed, felt a g^ip, or interval, be* 
(wixtthe confts^nt motion and the fuppofed^ inert- 
piefsof the Pl4(petSj ^ud had i^ this^ as in al^ other 


'ttiSYORY OF A^TRONdMir. 165 

tafes, fome general i3ea or apprehenfion that 
there muft be a'^cannedmg thain of iritermddiate 
objeft^ to link together theft difcardtat qualities. 
VVkerein this conne^fibg^hain cdnfifted, it wad, 
indeed, at a lofe to'concdre; nor did the doc- 
trine of Keprlerfend'it affiy' ^ftanci in this ref- 
pea. That doflririe, like almofV afl tHofe'crf the 
philofophy in falhion 'duritoghh time; beftowed a. 
name upon thi^ inviJBbli^'chkin, fcafllidlt an im- 
materiaFTtrtne, '-biA iSbtdcd no dctefminate idea 
«f what was its nature- * i - - ' 

Des Cartes^wfc the fJWV who attempted to af- 
tettaui, precifeiy, wKerein'thidinvifible chain con- 
fided, and to affbrd the itharfnation a train Of in- 
termed! ate evients, which, facceeding each other 
in an order that was of all others flie moft familiar 
to it, fhould unite thofe incoherent qualities, the 
rapid motion, and the natural mertnefs of the 
Planets* Des Cartes was the firft who explained 
tvherein coniifted the real inertnefs of matter ; 
that it was not in an averfion to motion, or in a 
}>ropenfity to reft, but in a power of continuing 
indifferently either at reft or in motion, and of re- 
lifting, wiih a certain force, whatever endeavour- 
ed to change its ftate from the one to the other. 
According to that ingenious and fanciful philofo- 
pher, the whole of infinite fpace was full of mat- 
ter, for with him matter and extenfion were the 
fame, and confequently there could be no void. 
This immenfity of matter, he fuppofed, to be 
divided into an infinite number of very fmall 


io6 filSTOEir Of ASTltd^OHr. 

cubes; all of whic]:^ being whirled abmit upon 
their own ceatezsj-p^ccfiarily give ^icc^fion to 
the produdioii of twb differeot eleioeoit^ The 
firflcoDriifVed dfthoTe angular pirts, which, hav- 
ing Ibeen n6ceilarilf rubbed diB& and grinde4 yet 
fmaller by their auitoal. £nAiaii> cOnftituted the 
iBoft fubtllb and moytaUe part of matter: The 
fecond<6iifiJ[led of'thofe little gM^^^ ^^ were 
formed bj the rubbiug off of the £rft. The intter- 
flices bfetwixt tbefe |lofauIes of the iecond eienoent 
was filled up by the paMck^ of the firft. ^ But ia 
the infinite coUifidns, which muft occur in an in- 
finite fjlacc filled \^ith rxftitust, ^d all in luotion^ 
it muft necieflarily happest^ that many of the glo- 
bules of the fecond element 4>ould be broken and 
grinded down into the firft. The quantity of the 
drft element ha^ving thus been ^ncreafed beyond 
what was fiiflicient to fill tip tHe interilices of the 
ftttoad, it muft, in many places, have bfien heap- 
ed up together, ^hout any mittuie of the fecond 
along with it. Siach* accofdmg t6 Des Cartes, 
was the Original divifion of matter. Upon this 
infinitude of matter thus divided, a certain quan- 
tity of motion was originally imprefled by the 
Creator of all things, and the laws of motion were 
fo adjufted as always to prefenre the fame quan- 
tity in it« without increafe, and without diminu- 
tion. Whatever motion was loft by one part of 
matter, was communicated to fome other; and 
whatever was acquired by one part of matter, was 
derived from fome other : and thus, through an 
eternal revolution, from reft 'to motion, and from 



moticm torci^ ia cv^ry part of tbe uaiverfe, the 
quantiijr of notion in the l^hole was always the 

But, as there was ho void, no one part of mat- 
ter could be moved without thrufting fomc other 
out of its place, nor that without thrufting fome 
other, and fo on. To avoid, therefore, an infi- 
hite progrefs, he fuppofed, that the matter which 
aoy body pufiied before it, rolled immediately 
backwards, to fupply the place of that matter 
which flowed in behind it ; as we may pbferve 
in the fmimming of a £fh, that the waterj which 
it puOies before it, immediately rolls backwards^ 
to fuppiy the place of what flows in behind it, 
and thus formi a fmall circle or vortex round the 
body of the fifli. It was, in the fame manner, 
that the motion originally imprelled by the Crea- 
tor u|ion the infinitude of matter, neceffaf ily pro- 
duced in it an infinity of greater and fmaller vor- 
tices, ot circular ftreams : and the law of motion 
being fo adjuflcd as always to preferve the fame 
quantity of motion in the univerfe, thofe vortices 
either continued for ever, or by their dilTolution 
give birth to others of the fame kind. There was, 
thus, at all times, an infinite number of greater 
and fmaller vortices, or circular ftreams, revolv- 
ing in the univerfe. 

But, whatever moves in a circle, is conftantly 
endeavouring to fly oflF from the center of its revo- 
lodon. For the natural motion of all bodies is in 
aiftraight line. All the particles of matter, there^ 



forci m each of thofe greater voHices, #fe^fc coti- 
tinually preffing from th^ dtnitt td the citcumfc- 
rcnce, with more or Icfs force, according t<> tlui 
different degrees of their bulk and folidity. The 
largei-and more folid globul^^ of the fecond ele- 
ment forced themfelves upwards to thd circumle- 
rence, While the fmalter, more yielding, and more 
a£liv6 p&rticles of the firft, which could' flow, 
fcvcn thfough the interftices of the fecond, . were 
forced downwards to the center. They were 
fbrced d6Wn^Vards tb the center, not withffan ding 
their natural tendency was upwards to the cir- 
cumference; for the fArtie reafon that a piece 
6f wood, when pltinged in water, is forced, up- 
wards to the furface, notwithl^anding its na- 
tural tendency is downwards to the bottom; 
becaufe its tendency dowtiwafd^ ii lefs llrong 
than that of the particles Of water, which, there- 
fore, if otie may fay fo, prefs in before it, and 
thus force it upwards. But thefe bein^ a great- 
er quantity of the firft element than what was 
neceffaty to fill up the interfticeS 6f the fecond, 
it was neceffarily accumulated in the center of 
each of thefe great 6irc<ila'r ftreams, and form- 
ed there the fiery fnd adlive fubllancc of tbfe 
Sun. For, according to that philofopher, the 
Solar Syftems were infinite in fiumber, each 
Fixed Star being the center of one : and he is | 
among the firfl of the moderns, who thus took 
away the boundaries of the Univerfe ; even Co- 
pernicus and Kepler, themfelves, having coo^ 



fined it within, what they fuppofed, the vault of 
the Firmament* 

The centei" of eacli vortex being thus Occu- 
pied by the moft a^ive and moveable parts of 
mattisr, thete was neceflariry anibng them, a 
more violent agitation than in any other part of 
the vortex, and this violent agitation of the 
center ehetifhid and fupported the movement 
of the whole. B)it, among the particles of the 
firft element, which fill up the interfficies of the 
fecond, there ar^ many, which, from the pref- 
fure of the globules on all fides Of them, ne** 
ceflarily receive an angulair form, and thus con*- 
Aitnte a third element of particles lefs fit for 
motion than thofe of the Other two. As the 
particles, howevet, of this thiild element were 
formed in the Interftices of the fecond, they 
are necef&rily fmaller thiin thofe of the fecond, 
and are, therefore, alOng with thofb of the firft, 
urged down towards the center, where, when 
' a number of them hapjpen to take hold of one 
another, they form fuch fpotls upoh the furface 
of the accumulated particles of the firft ele- 
ment, as are often difcoVered by telefcopes 
upon the face of thkt Sun, which enlightens 
and animates ouir particular fyftem. Thofe 
fpots are of^en broken and difpelled, by the 
violent agitation of the particles of the firft 
element^ as has hitherto happily been the cafe 
with thofe which have fucceffively been formed 
upon the face of our Sun« Sometimes, how- 

I ever. 


ever, they cncruft the whole furface of that 
fire which is accumtilated in the center; and 
the communication betwixt the moft adive and 
the mofl inert parts of the vortex being thus 
interrupted, the rapidity of its motion imme- 
diately begins to languiih, and can no longer 
defend it from being fwallowed up afxd carried 
•way by the fuperior violence of fomc other 
like circular ilream ; and in this manner, what 
was once a Sim, becomes a Planet. Thus^ 
the time was, according to this fyftem, when 
the Moon was a body of the fame kind with 
the Sun, the firey center of a circular fiream of 
cther> which flowed continually tound her ; but 
her face having been crufted over by a con- 
geries of angular particles, the motion of this 
circular ftream began to languifh, and could no 
longer defend itfelf from being abforbed by the 
more violent vortex of the Earth, which was 
then, too, a Sun, and which chanced to be 
placed in its neighbourhoods The Moon, there* 
fore, became a Planet, and revolved round the 
Earth- In procefs of time, the fame fortune, 
which bad thus befallen the Moon, befell alfo 
the Earth; its face was encrufied by a grofs 
and inadive fubftance i the motion of its vor^ 
tex began to languifh, and it was abforbed by 
the greater vortex of the Sun: but though the 
vortex of the Earth had thus become languid, 
it Aill had force enough to occafioja both the 
diurnal revolution of the Earth, and the month- 
ly motion of the Moon, For 4 fmall circular 



Ilream may ea&ly be conceived as flowing round 
the body of the Earth, at the fame time that 
It 18 carried along by that great ocean of ether 
which is continually revolving round the Sun; 
in the fame manner> as in a great whirlpool of 
water. One may often fee fcveral fmall whirls 
pools, which revolve round . centers of their 
own, and at the lame time are carried round 
the center of the great one. Such was the 
caufe of the original formation and confcquent 
motions of the Planetary Syftem^ When a folid 
body is turned round its center, tbofe parts of 
it, which are nearcft, and thofe which are re^^ 
moteft from the center, complete their revo* 
lutions in one and the fame time. But it is 
otherwifc with the revolutions of a fluid: the 
parts of it which are neareft the center complete 
their revolutions in a ihorter time, than thofe 
which arc remoter. The Planets, therefore, all 
floating in that immenfe tide of ether which is 
continually fetting in from weft to eaft round 
the body of the Sun, complete their revolu^ 
tions in a longer or a (horter time, according; 
to their nearnefs or diftance from him. There 
was, however, according to Des Cartes, no very 
exz& proportion obferved betwixt the times of 
their revolutions and th^ir diftances from the 
center. For that nice analogy, . which Kepler 
had difcovered betwixt them, having not yet 
been difcovered by the obfervations of Caflini/ 
^as, as I before took notice, .catirely difregard-.> 
ed by Des Cartes. According to him, too, their 

I z orbits 


orbits miglit not be perfedly circular, but b^ 
longer the one way than the other, and tlius 
approach to an Ellipfe. Nor yet was it nccef- | 
fary to fuppofe, that they defcribed this figure 
with geometrical accuracy, or even that thejr 
defcribed always precifely the fame figure. It 
rarely happens, that nature can be mathemati-- 
cally exa£l with regard to the figure of the ol>* 
je£is fhe produces, upon account of the infi- 
nite combinations of impulfes, which muft con- 
fpire to the produdion of each of hct effe£ls. 
No two Planets, no two animals of the fam^ 
kind, have ezaAIy the fame figure, nor is that 
of any one of them perfefily regular. It wa^ * 
in vain, therefore, that afttonomers laboured 
to find that perfed conftancy and r^Iarity in 
the motions of the heavenly bodies, which is 
to be found in no other parts of nature. Thefe 
motions, like all others, muft either languifh 
or be accelerated, according as the caufe which 
produces them, the revolution of tht vortex of 
the Sun, either languifhes, or is accelerated; 
and there are innumerable events which may 
occafion either the one or the othei' of thofe 

It was thus, that Des Cartes endeavoured to 
render familiar to the imagination, the greatefl 
difficulty in the Copeiliican fyftem, the rapid 
motion of the enormous bodies of the Planets. 
When the fancy had thus been taught to con- 
ceive them as floating in an immenfe ocean of 



ether^ it was quite agreeable to its ufual habits 
to conceive, that they ftiould follow the ftream 
of this oc^an, how rapid foever. This was an 
order of fucceffion to which it had been long 
accuftomed, and with which it was, therefore^ 
-quite familiar. This account too, of the ma* 
dons of the Heavens^, was conneded with a 
vaft, an immenfe fyflem, which joined together 
a greater number of the moft difcordant phsci^ 
nojoiena of' najure^ thaii h^4 h^eji united by 
any other hypothecs; ^ fyft^m \ix which th^ 
principles of connexion, though perhaps equal- 
ly imaginary^ werp, however, more diftinfl apd 
determinate, than any that had beei) known 
before; and which ^ttemptpd to trace to th^ 
imagination^ not paly the ord^r of fucceflion by 
whieh the heavenly bodies were moved, but 
that by which they, ^d 9lmp(l: aU other natu- 
ral obje^s, had originally beep produced*— ? 
The Cartefiaa nhilofophy begins pow to bp ^- 
moft univerfally rejeded, lyhile th^ Copernican 
fyftem continues to be univerfally received. 
Yet, it is not eafy tq imagine, ho\y rnucl^ prp- 
bability and coherence t|iis admired fyftem was 
long fuppofed to derive froqf^ that exploded hy- 
pothefis. Till Pes Cartes had publiihed hi$ 
principles, the disjointed and incoherent fyfiem 
of Tycho Brahe, though it was (rmbrace4 Jiear- 
tily and completely by fiparce ^ny body, was 
yet conftantly talked of by all the learned, as, 
in point of probability, upon a level with that 
of Copernicus. They took notice, indeed, of 



its iafcriority with regard to coherence and con^ 
ne£lion, exprefiing hopes, however, that theic 
ddfcAs might be remedied by fome future ixn-, ' 
pA>vements. But when the world beheld that 
complete, and almoft perfeft coherence, which 
the philofophy of Des Canes beftowed upon 
the fyftem of Copernicus, the imaginations of 
mankind could no longer refufe themfelves tlie 
pleafure of going along wiih ft) harmonious an 
account of things. The fyft^m of Tycho Brahe 
was every day lefs and Icls talked of, till at laft 
it was forgotten altogether 

The fyftem of Pes Cartes, however, though 
it conne6led together the real motions of th^ 
heavenly bodies According to the fyftem of Co- 
pernici|s» more happily than had been done 
before, did fo only when they were confidered 
in the grofs; but did not apply to them, when 
they were regarded in the detail. Des Cartes, 
as was fatd before j had never himfelf obferved 
the Heavens with any particular application. 
Though he was not ignorant,* therefore, of any 
of *^ the obfervations wb^ch had been made be- 
fore his time,' he feems to have paid them no 
great degree of attention ; which, probably, pro- 
ceeded from his own inexperience in the (ludy 
of Aftronoroy, So far, therefore, from accpm- 
mddating his fyftem to all the minute Irregula- 
rities, which Kepler had afcertained in the 
movements of the Planets; or from fiiewing, 
particularly, how thefe irregulaxitiesj and no 

^ *** ' other. 


other, fliould arife from % he contented him- 

felf ^th obfcrving, that perfedl uniformity could 

not be e^pe&ed in their motion, from the na« 

ture of the caufes which produced them ; that 

certain irregularities might take place in them, 

for a greater number of fucceffive revolutions, 

and afterwards give way to others of a different 

kind: a remark which, happily, relieved him 

from the neceflity of applying his fyftem to the 

obfervations of Kepler, and the other Aflrono- 


But when the obfervations of Caffini had cf" 
tablifhed the authority of thofe laws, which 
Kepler had firft difcovered in the fyftem, the 
philofophy of Des Cartes, which could afford 
no reafon, why fuch particular laws fliould be 
obferved, might continue to amufe the learned 
in other fciences, but could no longer fatisfy 
thofe that were Ikilled in Aftronomy* Sir Ifaac ^ 
Newton firft attempted to give a phylical ac« 
count of the morions of the Planets, which ' 
ftiould accommodate itfelf to all the conftant 
irregularities which aftronomers had ever ob« 
ferved in their motions. The phyfical connec- 
lion, by which Des Cartes had endeavoured to 
bind together the movements of the Planets, ' 
was the laws bf impulfe $ of all the orders of 
fucceffion, thofe which are moft familiar to the 
imaginarion ; as they all flow from the inertnefs 
of matter. After this quality, there is no other, 
with which we' are fo well acquainted^ as that' 


of gravity. We never aft upon matter, bit 
we have occafion to obferve it* The fqperior 
genius and fagacity of Sir Ifaac Newton, thcre-i, 
fore, made the mofl l^appy, ?ad, w? may now: 
fay, the greateft anc^ mod admirable iniprovc- 
ment that was ever made in phiiofophy, whea 
he difcovercd, that he could join together the 
movements of the PU^ets by To familiar a prin- 
ciple of connection, which completely remoye4 
all the difficulties the imagination had hitherto 
felt in attending to them. He demoiiftrateda^ 
that, if the Planet^ were fyppofed to gravitate 
towards the Sun, ai^d to one another, and at 
the fame tim^ to have had a projeding force 
originally imprefled upon th^m, the primary 
oaes mi^ht all defcribe ellipfi^s in one of the 
foci of which tha^ great luminary was placed ^ 
and the fecpndary qnes oiight defcribe figures 
of the fame kind, round their refpcAive prima** 
ries, without b^ing d^ftijirbed by the continual 
motion of the centers of their revolutions. That 
if the force, which retained e^ch of them ift 
their orbits, was li|ce that of gravity, and dir; 
redled towards the Sun, they would, ej^ch of 
them, defcribe equal ^reas in equal times^ That 
if this attraflive power of the Sun, like all other 
qualities j^hich are diffufed in rays frojoi ^ 
center, diminifhed in the fame proportion as 
the fquares of the diftai^ces increafed, their 
motions would b^ fwifteft when neareft the 
Sun, and llowe(( when fartheft off from him,^ 
in the fame proportion in which, by obferva- 



tioa> they are difcovered to be ; and that^ upoa 
t^e fame fuppofitioq, of this gradual dinunutioct 
of their refpeftive gravities^ their periodic tiine^ 
would bear the fame proportiou to their dif- 
tances, which Kepler aad Cafiiui h^d eftabliih* 
ed be^wisct them. H^viug thu^ ihowp, that 
gravity might be the connei^iDg priuciple which 
joiae4 tog;ether the movements of the Planet^, 
he endeavoured next to prove that it really 
Avas fo. Experience fhews us, what i^ the pow? 
er of gravity near the furface of th? £arth; 
That it i9 fuch as to make a body fall, in the 
iiffl fecond of its defcent, through about fif- 
teen Parifian feet. The Moon is about fixty 
femidiameters of th$ Earth dift^nt from its fur- 
face. If gravity, therefpre, was fuppofed to 
dlminilh, as the fquares of the diftance incre^fe, 
a body, at the Moon, would fall towards the 
Earth in a minute; that, is, in fixty fecouds, 
through the fame fpace, which it falls near its 
furface in one fecond. But the arch which the 
Moon d^fcrib^s ill a minut^, falls, by pbfervar 
tioD, ^bout fifteen Parifian feet belqw the tan^ 
gent drawn at the beginning of it. So |ar, 
therefore, the Moon may be conceived as coa^ 
(lantly falling towards the E^th« 

The fyftem of Sir Ifaac Newton correfponded 
to many other irregularities which Aftronomers 
had obferved in the Heavehs. It affigned a reafon, 
why the centers of the revolutions of the Planets 
were not precifely in the center of the Sun^ but 



in the common center of gravity of the Sun and 
the Planets. From the mutual Ittraftion .of the 
Planets, it gave a reafon for fome other irregula- 
rities in their motions ; irregularities, which are 
quite fenfible in thofe of Jupiter and Saturn, when 
thofe Planets are nearly in conjnndlion with one 
another. But of all the irregularities in the Hea* 
vens, thofe of the Moon had hitherto given the 
greateft perplexity to Aftronomers; and the fyf- 
tero of Sir Ifaac Newton correfponded, if poflible, 
yet more accurately with them than with any of 
the other Planets. The Moon, when either in 
conjundion, or in oppofition to the Sun, appears 
furtheft from the Earth, and neareft to it when 
in her quarters* According to the fyftem of that 
philofopher, when (he is in conjunftion with the 
Sun, fhe is nearer the Sun than the Earth is ; 
.coiifequently, more attra£led to him, and, there- 
fore, more feparated from the Earth."- On the 
contrary, when in oppofition to thd Sun, fhe is 
further from the Sun than the Earth, The Earth, 
therefore, is more attraAed to the Sun; and, 
confequently, in this cafe, too, further feparat- 
ed from the Moon. But, on the other hand, 
when the Moon is in her quarters, the Earth and 
the Moon, being both at equal diftance from the 
Sun, are equally attra£led to him. They would 
not,, upon this account alone, therefore, be 
brought nearer to one another. As it is not in 
parallel lines, however, that they ■ are attrafted 
towards- the Sun, but in lines which meet in his 
center,- they are^ theteby, ftillftirther approach- 


ed ^o one another. Sir Ifaac Newtqn computed 
thp diffeTeijccs of the forces, with, which the. 
Moon and the Earth otight« \n all tbpfe different, 
fituations, according to his theory, to be impel* 
led towards one another; and found, that the. 
difierentdegreesofth^ir approaches, as^heyhad . 
beei^ obferved by Aftronomers, correfponded ex^ 
a&ly to his compiitations. As the attra;&ion o£ 
the Sun, in the conjun^ons and lOppofitions^^ 
diminifhes the gravity of the Moon towards the . 
Earth, and, confequemly» makes her nece<fari<« 
ly extend her wbit, and, therefore, leqtdre > 
louger periodici^l time to £niih it. But, whei4 
the Moon and the Earth are in that part of the or-* 
bit which is neareft the Sun, thi^ auraStion of the 
Sun will be the greateft ; c^mfequently,. the gra« 
vity of the Mopu towards th^ Earth, will there 
be moft diminiihed ; her orbit be moft extended; 
and her periodic time be, therefore, the longeft. 
This is, aifo, agreeable to. experience, and in 
the very fame proportion^ in which, by compu* 
tation, from thefe principles, it joiight be ex<i 

The orbit of the Moon is nqt precifely in the , 
lame Plane with that of the Earth; but makes « 
very fmall angle with it. The points of interfeo* 
tiou of thefe two Planes, ar^ called, th^ Nodes 
of the MoQu. Thefe Nodes of the Moon are ia 
continual motion, and in eighteen or nineteen 
years, revolve backwards, from eaft to weft, 
i throng all the different points of the .Ecliptic 



3For the Moon,, after having finifiied her periodi- 
cal revolution, generally interfefts the orbit of the 
Earth ibmewh/it behind the point where Ihe had 
interiefted it before. But, though the motion of 
the Nodes is thus generally retrograde, it is not 
always fo, but is fometimes direA, and fpme- 
times they appear even ftationary ; the Moon ge- 
nerally interfeds the Plants of the Earth^s orbit, 
behind the point where ihe had interfe&ed it in 
her former revolution ; but fhe fometimes inter- 
k&s it before that point, and fometimes in the 
very fame point. It is the fituation of thofe Nodes 
wluch determines the times of Eclipfes, and their 
motions had, upon this account, at all times, 
been particularly attended to by Aftronomers. 
Nothing, however, had perplexed them more, 
than to account for thefe fo inconfiftent motions, 
and, at the fame time^ preferve their fo much 
fought-for regularity in the revolutions of the 
Moon. For they had no other means of conned- 
ing the appeamnces' together, than by fuppofing 
fhe motions which produced them, to be, in rea- 
lity, perfeftly regular and equable. Thehiftoryof 
Aftronopiy, therefore, gives an account of > 
greater nuqaber of theories invented for connedl- 
ing together the motions of the Moon, than for 
conneding together thofe of all the other heavenly 
bodies taken together. The theory of gravity, 
conneded together, in the moft accurate manner, 
by the diflFerent aftions of the Sun and the Eanh, 
all thofe irregular motions ;• and it appears, by 
calculation, that the time, the quantify, and the 



tluration of thofe direft and retrograde motions 
of the Nodes, as well as of their ftationary ap- 
pearances, might be expefled ^o be cxaftly fuch, 
as the obfervations of Aftronomers have deter- 
imiiied them. 

The lame principle, the attra^ion of the Sun» 
which thus accounts for the motions of the Nodes, 
conneds, too, another very perplexing irregula- 
rity in the appearances of the Moon ; the per^- 
petual variation in the inclination of her orbit .ta 
that of the Earth. 

As the Moon revolves in an ellipfe, which has 
xhc centre of the Earth in one of iu foci, the 
longer axis of its orbit is called the Line of its 
Apfides. This line is found, by obfervation, 
hot to be always direAed towards the fame points 
of the Firmament, but to revolve forwards, £tom 
weft to eai^, fo as to pals through all the points 
of the Ecliptic, and to complete its period in 
about nine years; another irregularity, which 
had very much perplexed Aftronomerd, but 
which the theory of gravity fuflBcicntly account- 
ed for. 

The Earth had hitherto been regarded as per- 
fc£Uy globular, probably for the fame reafon 
which had made men imagine, that the orbits of 
the Planets muft neceflarily be perfedly circular. 
But Sir Ifaac Newton, from mechanical princi- 
ples, concluded, that, as the parts of the Ea^rth 


\ii SISTokY dF ASfkONOiiY; 

'muft'bfc more agitated by her diurnal revolution 
at the Equator, than at the Poles, they muft ne- 
ceflarily be fonicwhat elevated at the firft, and 
flattened at the fecond. 'The bbfervations that 
the ofcillations of pendulunis were flower at the 
Equator than at the Poles, feeming to demon-^ 
•ftrate^ that gravity was ftronger at the Poles^ and 
weaker at the Equator, proved^ he thought, that 
"the Equator was further from the centre than the 
Poles. All the mealhres, however, which had 
iiitherto been made of the Earth, Teemed to fhow 
the contrary, that it wai drawn out towards the 
Poles, and flattened towards the Equator* New-^ 
ton, however, preferred his mechanical compu- 
tations to the former meafures of Geographers 
ftnd Aftronomers i and in this he was confirmed 
by the obfervations of Aftronomers on the figure 
6f Jupiter, whofe diameter at the Pole feems to 
be to his diameter at the Equator, as twelve ii> 
thirteen ; a much greater inequality than could 
be fuppofed to take place betwixt the correfpon- 
dent diameters of the Earth, but which was cx- 
aftly proportioned to the fuperior bialk of Jupi- 
ttr, and the fuperior i^apidity with which he per- 
forms his diurnal revolutions* The obfervations 
of Aftronomers at Lapland and Peru have fully 
confirmed Sir Ifaac^s fyftem, and have not only 
demonftrated, that the figure of the Earth is, in 
general, fuch as he fuppofed it; but that the 
proportion of its aitis to the diameter of its 
Equator is almoft precifcly fuch as he had com- 
puted it. And of air the prooft that Have ever 


MlSTORt 01 ASTRONOilY. it^ 

been adduced of the diumal revolution of the 
Earth, this perhaps is the moft folid and fatis- 

Hipparchus, by compathig his own obfcrva- 
tions i^ith thofe of fome former Aftronomers^ 
had found that the equinoxial points were not 
always oppofite to the fame part of the Heavens, 
but that they advanced gradually eaftward by fo 
flow a motion, as to be fcarce fenfible ii one 
hundred years, and whith would require thirty-^ 
fix thoufand to make a complete revolution of 
the Equinoxes, and to carry them fucceffively 
through all the different points of the Ecliptic. 
More accurate obfervations difcovered that this 
procefiion of the Equinoxes was not fo flow 
as Hipparchus had imagined it, and that it re- 
quired fomewhat lefs than twenty-fix thoufand 
years to give them a complete revolution. While 
the ancient fyilem of Aftronomy, which repre- 
fented the Earth as the immoveable centre of the 
uhiverfe, took place, this appearance was necef- 
farily accounted for, by fuppofing that the Fir- 
mament, befides its rapid diurnal revolution 
round the poles of the Equator, had likewifc a 
flow periodical one round thofe of the Ecliptic. 
And when the fyftem of Hipparchus was by the 
fchoolmen united with the folid Spheres of Arif- 
totle, they placed a new chriftaline Sphere above 
the Firmament, in order to join this motion to 
the reft. In the Copernican fyftem, this appear- 
ance had hitherto been conneded with the othei 



parts of that hyppthefis, by fuppofing a fmalt 
revolution in the Earth's afxis from eaft to weft- 
Sir Ifaac Newtdn coiiiieded this motion by the 
fame principle 6f gravity, by which he had united 
all the others, and fhewed, how the elevation of 
the parts of the Earth at the equator itiuft, by 
the attradlion of the Siih^ produce tht famie re- 
trograde motion of the Nodes of the Eclipuci 
which it prodticed of the Nodes of the Moon; 
He computed thequantity of motion which could 
arife from this adion of the Sun, and his calcula- 
tions here too entirely correfponded Ivith the ob-i 
fervations of Aftronomers. 

Comets had hitherto, of all the appearances 
in the Heavens, been the leaft attended to by 
Aftronomers. The rarity and mconfiancy of 
their appearance, fecmed to feparate them en* 
tirely frpm the conftant, regular, and uniform 
objedls in the Heavens, and to miake them re- 
femble more the inconftant, tranfitory, and ac- 
cidental phaenomena of thpfe regions that are 
in the neighbourhood of the Earth. Ariftotle, 
Eudoxus, Hippatchus, Ptolemy, and Purbacb, 
therefore, had all degraded them below the 
Moon, tand ranked them among- the meteors 
of the upper regions of the air. The obfer- 
vations of Tycho Brahe demonftr^ted, that they 
afcended into the cekftial regions, and were 
often higher than Venus or the Sun. Des Car- 
tes, at random, fuppofed them to be always 
higher than even the orbit of Saturn ; and feems, 



bf^ tbe fuperior elevatioii he tlsos: beftowed upon 
them, to have been willing to conipenf«»t 
unjuft degradation which they had fuffered for 
fo many ages bitffort. T?he obfervations of fome 
later Afti^onomeits didm«nftrat«d, that tfaey too 
revolved abdtrt the Sbii^ and n^ht tbdrefore 
be partd ct the Soiar flyftoD. Newton accords; 
ingly applied hid laeabanicrt piinoxpkf ofgra^ 
vity tD espiaiA dxf modotm oS tbdfe bodis^ 
That they defot-ibcd cqul tireaei ki «qyU tasiea^ 
bad been difcorn^edtlby the oMbivations of fixme 
later A&ronamex^i -dad Ijeittan> cn^ca^'oused 
to fliow how ffom this pafinciiple,. aad xkak olv 
ferratiom, the:nauire aod poikicai ol thebfe- 
veral arbM might beia&evtanaedy ind i^iK^pe^ 
rbdic times daserianied. ^ His £>llower& hav^. 
from hift principles^ Yemimed ersn to .pr«di& 
the returns ofifeYcrall oS iksm, jiarticuhrly of 
oae which is toe make its appearance! in 1758** 
We muft wak: for. that tinrn brfoire we can de- 
termine, whether his philofopliy correfponds 
as happily to tins part <if thefyileat as to all 
the cfthers. In the niean. time^ however, th^ 
dudility of this: principle^ which applied itfelf 
fo happily to thefe, the tnoil irregular of all the 
celeftial appearances^ and whieh has introduce 
ed fuch compkte coherence into the motion^ 
of all the Heavealy Bodies^ has ferved not a 

K . little 

* It mult l>e oUerred, that the whole of this Eflajr wat 
written previous to the date here mentioned; and that the 
leturn of the comet happened agreeabi/ to the pfcdidion* 


little to recommend it to the imaginations of 

But of all the attempts of the Newtonian 
Philofophy, that which .would appear to be the 
mod above the reach of human reafon and ex- 
perience, is the attempt to compute the weights 
and denfities of the Sun^ and of the feveral 
Planets. Anattempt> however, which was in* 
difpenfibly neceffary to complete the coherence 
of the Newtonian fyftera. The power of attrac- 
tion which, according to the theory of gravity, 
each body poffefles, is in proportion to the 
quantity of matter contained in that body. But 
the periodic time in which one body, at a gi- 
ven diftance, revolves round another that at- 
trads it, is fhorter in proportion as this power 
is greater, and confequently as the quantity of 
matter in the attrading body. If the denfities 
of Jupiter and Saturn were the fame with that 
of the Earth, the periodic times of their feve- 
ral Satellites would be fhorter than by obfervation 
they are found to be. Becatife the quantity of 
matter, and confequently the attradiog power 
of each of them, would be as the cubes of their 
diamctersi By comparing the bulks of thofe 
Planets, and the periodic rimes of their Satel- 
lites, it is found that, upon the hypothefis of 
gravity, the denfity of Jupiter muft be greater 
than that of Saturn, and the denfity of the 
Earth greater than thtt of Jupiter. This feems 
tb ellabliih it as a law in the fyfiem, that the 




neuer the feveral Plaaets approach to the Sun, 
the dcnfity of their matter is the greater : a 
conilitutioQ of thiags which would feem to be 
the luoft advantageous of any that could have 
been eftafoUlfaed ; as water of the fame denfity 
with that of our Earth, >K^ould freeze under the 
Equator of Saturn, and boU under that of Mer* 

Such is the fyftem of Sir Ifaac Newton, a fyf- 
tern whofe parts are all more ftri^ly conneded 
together, than thofe of any other philofophical 
hypothefis. Allow his principle, the univer- 
iality of gravity, and that it decreafes as the 
fquares of the diftance increafe, and all the ap« 
pearances, which he joins together by it, ne- 
ceflarily follow. Neither is their conae£Hon 
merely a general and Ipofe connexion, as that 
of moft other fyftems, in which either thefe 
appearances, or fome fuch like appearances, 
might indifferently have been expe^ed. It is 
cY^ry where the moft precire and particular that 
can be ioiagined, and afcertains the time, the 
place, the quantity, the duration of each indi- 
vidual pfasenomenon, to be exaAly fuch as, by 
obfexvation, they have been determined to be. 
Neither ai^ the principles of union, which it 
employs, fuch as the imagination can find any 
difficulty in going along with. The gravity o£ 
matter is, of all its^qualities, after its inertnefs, 
that which is moft familiar to us. We never 
tSt upcm it without having occafioa to obferve 
K z this 

thU prt^eky. Tt« l*v»r too, hj^ ^feich- k i* ft^* 
5pofed to dimimffi- as k ikctA^i lft)rtf kd dentre, 
?8 the feihc whkrh takes pfac« lA ill oHli^i' qtiflfc- 
fhtes whtefc Mie ptopagatdd! m Tiy^ ftom a- cen- 
tre, in Kgirt, «nd ill dvcry tMng elfe of tfe^ fame 
Imd It k fuefa, that we not only find that 
it does take place iii^ dt feck ijtfaflki^, but we 
are neceffarily determined to conceive that, -from 
the nature of the thing, k muft take place. The 
bppoiition wbieh was mdde in ttaticej Ati4 in 
fome other foreign nations, to the pret^aTenctf of 
this fyftem, did ^ot arife fiom any diflSetilty 
which ttiankind naturally felt in: conce^Tteg gra- 
-f^ity as an original and primary mover in the 
Cttflfflmtion of the tfniverfe. The Gartifiatt fyf- 
fcm, which had prtvailed (o getoeralfy before tty 
had accuffomed nftrnkind to cohteiw motioir 
as never beginning^, but irt eoirfequencie of im-- 
Julfe, and had conneAed' the ^ftent of heavy 
bodies, neai^ the furface of the Earth, and the 
other Pfenets, by this more genetal bond of 
titiiou; and it Was^ the attachment the world 
had conceived for this account of things, whicflr 
itodifpofcd them to that of SJr Ifaac Ne\vton* 
HSs fjrffei^, Howcfvir, rfow- prevail ovet all op- 
poiitrorr, and ha^ advanced to the acqnifitkm 
df the moft uiiivferfal empire that Wa^ ever efta-- 
BKfhed in f^hilofophy. Hi^ priiicipfes, k mtiff 
Bel acknotvledged, havb a degree of firmnefs^ 
and fblkfity thit we ftionld in vaiti l6ok for in 
any other fyftcmf.' The moft fce^tical cannot 
ivoid' fcrfing-thii. They not only conneft to- 

gether moft perfcdly all the phsenomena of the 

Heavens, which had been obferved before his 

time, but tbcfe 4f0 vfhkh the perfevAing induf- 

try and more perfed inftruments of later Aftrono- 

mer^ havejpHide kao-wa to w ; Jiaye be€a either 

eaCly ancj i|jiH>ediatielj^ e;5plained by t4je applicaH; 

X)n of his prineiple^ or Jbaye hcpn explained in 

confequence of xnorf laborious ^ad .accurate . cal^ 

culations froiR^ th.efe principles, thaii had been in^ 

ftituted bcfo^re^ And ievea we, while we hav^ 

been eade^voiiriQjg to reprefent ,all phitolophicaj 

fyftcm^ as jncre inventions of tlje imagination, tp 

wnoefi together the othea: wife disjointed ,and diC- 

cord^nt pbaenomena pf iiatnre;, iave infenfibljr 

been drawn in, -tp malae nfe of langtwgc cxpre£r 

fing the conneding principles of this one, as if 

they were the real chains which Nature makes ufe 

of to bind together her feveral operations. Can 

we wonder then, that it flbould h^ve gained the 

general and complete approbation of mankind, 

and that it ihould now be confidered, not as an 

attempt to conned in the imagination the phaenor* 

mena of the Heavens, but 4s the greateft difco- 

very that ever was made by man, the difcove- 

ry of an immenfe chain of the moft important and 

fublime truths, all clofely connefted together, by 

one capital fad, of the reality of which we have 

daily experiencet ***♦*»*** 




The Author, atthecndofthisEflky, leftfome 
Notes and Memorandums, from which it appears, 
that he confidered this part of his Hiftory of 
Aftronomy as imperfcA, and needing feveral ad- 
ditions. The Editors, however, chofe rather to 
publiih than to fupprefs it. It muft be viewed, 
not as a Hiflory or Account of Sir Ifaac Newton's 
Aftronomy, but chiefly as an additional iltuftra- 
tion of thofe Principles in the Human Mind which 
Mr. Smith has pointed out to be the univerfa) 
motives of Philofophical Refearcheai 










\0 ' J ill . 

J* KOM arranging and methodizing the Syftem 
of the Heavens, Philofophy defcended to the 
confideration of the inferior parts of Natyre, of 
the Earth, and of the bodies which immediately 
furround it. If the obje£l5, which were here pre- 
fented to its view, were inferior in greatnefs or 
beauty, and therefor^ lefs apt to attraA the atten- 
tion of the mind, they were more apt, when they 
came to be attended to, to eoibarrafs and perplex 
it, ty the variety of their fpecies, and by the 
intricacy and feeming irregularity of the laws or 
orders of their fucceffion, The fpecies of objeds 
in the Heavens are few in number j the Sun, the 
Moon, the Planets, and the Fixed Stars, are all 
which thofe Philofophers could diftinguilh. All 
the changes too, which are ever obferved in 
thefe bodies, evidently arife from fome difference 
in the velocity and diredioii pf their feveral mo- 
tions; but the variety of meteors in the air, of 



clouds, rainbows, thunder, ligbtning, vinds^ 
rain, hail, fnow, is vaftly greater; wd the order 
of their fucceflion feems to be ftill more irregular 
and unconftant. The fpeciesoffoffils, minerals^ 
plants, animals, ivhich are found in the Waters, 
and near the furface of the Earthy are ftill more 
intricately diverfified ; and if we regard the dif- 
ferent manners of their produdion» their mutual 
influence in altering, deftroying, fupporting one 
another, the orders of their fucceflion feem to ad* 
mit of an almoft infinite variety. If the imagi* 
nation, therefore, when it confidered the appear- 
ances in the Heavens, was often perplexed, and 
driven out of its natural career, it would be much 
more expofed to the fame embarraflTment, when 
it direAed its attention to the pbjeds which the 
£arth prefented to it, and when it endeavoured to 
trace their progress ^nd fucceflive revolutions* 

Tq introduce order and coherence into the 
mind's conception of this feeming chaos of diffi- 
milar and disjointed appearances, it was ncccfia- 
ry to deduce all their qualities, operations, and 
laws of fucceflion^ from thofe of fome particular 
things, with which it was perfeAly acquainted 
and familiar, and along with its imagination 
could glide fmoothly and eafily, and without in- 
terruption. But as we would in vain attempt to 
deduce the heat of a ftove from that of an open 
chimney, unlefs we could ihow that the fame fire 
which was expofed in the one, lay concealed in 
the other i fo it was impofiible to deduce the qua- 


litiee and laws of fuccefiion, obferved in the more 
uncommon appearances of INature, from thofe 
of fnch as were more familiar^ if thofe cuftoma- 
ry objeds were not fuppofed, however difguifed 
in their appearance, to enter into the compofi- 
tion of thofe rarer and more lingular phseuome- 
na. To render, therefore, this lower part of 
the great theatre of nature a coherent fpe£tacle to 
the imagination, it became neceflary to fuppofe, 
firft. That all the ftrange obje&s of which it 
confifted were made up out of a few, with which 
the miud was extremely familiar : . and fecondly. 
That all their qualities, operations, and rules of 
fuccei&on, were no more than different diverfi- 
fications of thofe to which it had long been ac* 
cuflomed, in thefe primary and elementary ob- 

Of all the bodies of which thefe inferior parts 
of the univerfe feem to be compofed, thofe with 
which itre are moft familiar, are the Earth, which 
we tread upon; the Water, which we every day 
ufe ; the Air, which we conftantly breath ; and 
the Fire, whofe benign influence is not only re* 
qtured for preparing the common necefiaries of 
life, but for the * continual fuppprt of that vital 
principle which aduates both plants and animals. 
Thefe, therefore, were by Empedocles, and the 
other philofophers of the Italian fchool, fuppof- 
ed to be the elements, out of which, at lead, all 
the inferior parts of nature were compofed. The 
familiarity ^ thofe bodies to the mind> naturally 


^ifpofed it ito look fpr.jGomc refcwblsmce to tbensi 
in whatever elfe ws prefentcd to us cpoiidera* 
tioa- The difcovexy of (om^ inch rcfrrohlancc 
united the new objeiSl to an afibrtaient of tfaiagSt 
with which the iougiqation was pcr&aiy :ac-r 
guainted. And if any analogy cowld be obferv* 
cd betwixt the operations ant| laws of fucceffipa 
pf the compound, and thofe of tiie finipleobje^^y 
the movement of the fancy^ in tracing their pro. 
grefs, became quite Imootii, and ^latural, «ad 
pafy. This natural anticipatioA> toO| w;is iliU 
more confirmed by fuch.a flight ^nd inaccurate 
unalyfis of things, as could be expeGtcd in this 
infancy of fcieucet when the curipfity q£ man* 
kind, grafping at an account of all things be* 
fore it had gpt full fatisfa&ion with r^ard to ftojr 
one, hurried on to build, in imagination, theifO^ 
menfe fabric of the univerfe. The heat, ob- 
ferved in both plants and imimalSf feemed tp de<- 
fnonftrate, that Fire made a pajrt of their cprnpa^ 
^tion, Air was not lefe nec^f&ry for tljf fi^bfift-- 
9nce pf .both* and feemed, too^ to center into th^ 
fabric of animals by refpiratjon^ and into that of 
plants by fome other means* The j^lices vhach 
^circulat^d thxpugh them ihowed how m^ck of 
their tejcture w#s owing to Water. Aud their 
refolutiom into Earth by putrefeiUon, .difcovered 
that this element had not been left out in their 
original fornsation. A fimilar aufilyfis feemed to 
Aiew the fame principles in^noft other <;ompojand 


^StOAV Cft ANClEfrtf PHtSICSL i^f 

•file vaft extent of thoft bodies feeme J to ren- 
der them, trpoli another account, proper to he 
the great ftofes: out of which nature compound- 
ed all the other fpeefesr of things. Earth and 
Water dividd almoft the whole of the terreftrial 
globe between them, ^he thin tfanfparent co- 
vering of the Ait fiirrounds h to an immenfe 
height updn all fides. Fire, with m attendant, 
light; feems 16 defcend from the celeftial re- 
gions, and might, therefore, either be fuppofed 
to be diffufed through the whole of thofe icthe- 
riat fp^eei, as well ad to be condenfed and con- 
globated in: thole luminous t)odies, which fparkfe 
act ofs^ them, as by the Stoics j or, to be placed 
immediately ufider the fphere of the Moon, in 
the region next below them, as by the Peripa- 
fettcfi, who could not reconcile the devouriii^ 
nature of Fire with the fuppofed unchangeable 
cffence of their folid and cryftalline fpheresw 

The qualities, tdo, by which we are chiefiy 
acctlffomed to chata£terize and diftinguifh natu- 
ral bodies, are afl of them found, in the higheft 
degt-ee in thofe Four Elements. The great di- 
vifions of the objeSd, neatr the fui^face of the 
£artb, ^re thofe into hot and cold, moifl and 
dry, Ught and heavy. Thefe are the moft re- 
markable' properties of bodies ; and it is vipcm 
them that many of their other moft fenfible qua- 
lities and powers feem to depend. Of rhefe, 
heat and cold were naturally enough regarded by 
thofe firfi eo^irers imo nature, as ti^e a£iive, 



moifture and dryers, as the paffive qualities of 
matter. It was the temperature of heat and cold 
which feemed tooccafion the growth and diffolu- 
tion of plants and animals ; as appeared evident 
from the cSc&s of the change of the feafons up- 
on both* A proper degree of moifture and dry- 
nefs was not lefs necelTaiy for thefe purpofcs ; as 
was evident from the different effeds and pro- 
dudlions of wet and. dry feafons and foils. It 
was the heat and cold> however^ which aduated 
and determined thofe two otherwife inert quali- 
ties of things, to a (late either of reft or motion. 
Gravity and levity were regarded as the two 
principles of motion^ which direded all fublu* 
nary things to their proper place : and all thofe 
fix qualities, taken together, were, upon fuch 
an inattentive view of of nature, as muft be ex- 
pelled in the beginnings of philofophy, readily 
eaoujgh apprehended to be capable of conne&ing 
together the moft remarkable revolutions, which 
•Qcur in thefe inferior parts of the univerfe. 
Heat and drynefs were the qualities which cha- 
nAerized the element of Fire ; heat and moif- 
tore that of Air ; moifture and cold that of Wa- 
tet^ cold and drynefs that of Earth. The natu- 
ral motion of two of thefe elements. Earth and 
Water, was downwards, upon account of their 
gravity. This tendency, however, was ftrongcr 
in Ac one than in the other, upon account of 
the Ibpcrior gravity of Earth. The natural mo- 
tioo of thf. twg other elements. Fire and Air, 
yi^ upwwdsj upon account of their levity ; and 



this tendency, tooy was ftronger in the one than 
in the other, upon account of the fuperior levity 
of Fire. Let us not defpife thofe ancient philo- 
fophers, for thus fuppoling, that thefe two ele- 
ments had a pofitive levity, or a real tendency 
upwards. Let us remember, that this notion has 
an appearance of being confirmed by the taott 
obvious obfervations ; that thofe fa£ts and expe- 
riments, which demonftrate the weight of the 
Air^ and which no fuperior fagacity, but chance 
alone, prefented to the moderns, were- altogether 
unknown to them; and that, whfit might, in fomc 
meafure have fupplied the place of thofe experi- 
ments, the reafonings concerning the caufes oS 
the afcent of bodies, in fluids fpecifically heavier, 
than themfelve$, ieem to have been unknown ia 
the ancient world, till Archimedes difcovered 
them, long after their fyftem of phyfics was com*^ 
pleted, and had acquired an eftablifhed reputa« 
tion : that thofe reafonings are far from being ol> 
vious, and that by their inventor, they feem to 
hare been thought applicable only to the afcent 
of Solids in Water, and not even to that of So- 
lids in air, much lefs to that of one fluid in 
another. But it is this laft only which could ex- 
plain the afcent of flame, vapours, and fiery ex* 
halations, without the fuppofltign of a fpecific 

Thus, each of thofe Four Elements had, in 
the fyflem of the univerfe, a place which was 
peculiarly allotted to it, and to which it natu- 

Mtf tended. t«tb atKl Water foJhrf down tor 
tl^ eentt^ 5 the A\t ^€»mI itf4df abwrie tbcim ; 
whJte the Fire foared dlcrff, either ta* thcrcdeP 
tial regrbiij w iksit whicll t)i^6 immediatdy be* 
IbXfhi When eatch df tboftf firitj^ebodies had 
tinss obtained ii^ f$rdf»^ ^tere^ there wji» iia<' 
tllifig id the DfatDfte of au}^ <me of them to inake 
it paft ibic^-thfe' place <tf tJk?C)th€f ^ ta make tbe^Rre 
«lefceiid ittkiKthe Air, the Ah hMo the WaWr^ of 
tJie Watdfi ato the Earth jdr, oii thff oOiurar}?^. 
t^brifig ii|>th«- Eai^^h ie» t^p]siCt0{ the.Wak 
i»ty the* W$itef into that ^ the Ak; cnr tfan Air 
hifd that df the Fwe* AllfuWimwy thingis,. there* 
fore$ if lef^ to tbei»f(gtve8, would have temnn* 
dd ill an et^rntfl tepofe^ Tbe rer^lnddn o£ the 
iM^ifetf^y thof£i df the Sun, Mooo, anocd Five Fh- 
A6tt^ bj prodaci.iD>g the victfiitnde^ aC Day -and 
Mighty a^d of tbe Seafood, pmrentdd tfaio. torpor 
and iiia&ivity fi^om reigning thronigb the iofe- 
nof parts! of matote;. iaflamed by tbci rafildicy of 
tbeir circuidvaliuioosy the elei^emt of Fire, and 
fbrced it Tide&tly downwairds into* tbe Air, kto: 
the Water,^ add uobto the Earthy atid tbereby pro^ 
duced thofe mixtores of thei di&cent demeots' 
which kept up' tlie motion and circolcttion of the 
loiveT parts of nature; occafkmed, fomestiinesy 
tiie entire traufmmation of one dement into ano- 
ther, and fometimes the production of forms 
and fpecies different from them all, and in which, 
though tbe. qualities of them ail B»igbt be fotiod, 
they were fo altered and attempered by the tnix- 
txrre, aa^icArcd to-be diftioguiiliaft>ie. 


toitORT Oi* ANCIENT Pff^glCSS* 141 - 

Thus, if a f»all quajitity of Fire was mixed ' 
U'ith a great quantity of Air, the moifture and 
moderate warrath jof iht one entirely furmount- • 
cd and changed imo their own effence the in- 
tenfe heat and drynefs of the other ; and the ' 
Ivbole aggregate became Air. The' contrary of* 
which hapjpenedi if a fmall quantity of Air \Va3 -' 
mijced with a great quantity of Fire: the whole, 
in this cafe, became Fire- In the fame ttiannet, 
if a fmall quantity of Fire was mixed with a 
great quantity of Water, then^ either the moif- 
ture and cold of the Water might furmaunt ' 
the heat and drynefs of the Fire, fo as that the 
whole ftiould become Water; or, the moifture- 
of the Water might furmount the drynefs of the 
Fire, while, in its turn, the heat of the Fire fur- 
mounted the coldnefs of the Water, fo - as that 
the whole aggregate^ its qualities being heat and 
moifture, flxould become Air, which was regard- 
ed as the more natural and eafy mctamorphofis of 
the two. In the fame manner they explained 
how like changes wiere produced by the differenfc 
mixtures of Fire and Earth, Earth and Water; 
Water and Air, Aii: and Earth; and thus they' 
conncfted together, the. fucceflive tranfmutations' 
of the elements into one another* 


Every mixture of thei Elements, however, did 
not produce an entire tranfmutation. They were 
fometimes fo blended together, that the qualities 
of the one, not being able to deftroy, ferved 
only to attemper thofe of the other. ^ Thus, Fire, ' 

L when 


when mixed with water, produced foinetimes d 
watery vapour, whofe qualities were heat and. 
moifture ; which partook at once of the levity o£ 
the Fire, and of the gravity of the Water, and 
which was eievated by the firft into the Air, but 
retained by the laft frbm afcending into the re- 
gion of Fire. The relative cold, which they 
fuppofed prevailed in the middle region of the 
Air, upon account of its equal diftance, both 
from the region of Fire, and from the rays that 
are refle£led by the furface of the Earth, con- 
denfed this vapour into Water; the Fire efcapod 
it» and flew upwards, and the Water fell down ia 
rain, or, according to the different degrees of cold 
that prevailed in the different feafons, was fome- 
times congealed into fnow, and fometimes into 
haih In the fame manneri Fire, when mixed 
with Earth,, produced fometimes a fiery exhala- 
tion, whofe qualities were heat and drynefs> 
which being elevated by the levity of the firft 
into the Air condenfed by the cold, fo as to take 
fire, and being at the fame time furrounded by 
watery vapours, burft forth into thunder and 
lightning, and other fiery meteors. Thus thej 
conneded together the different appearances in 
the Air, by the qualities of their Four Elements } 
and from them, too, in the fame manner, they 
endeavoured to deduce all the other qualities in 
the other homogeneous bodies, that are near the 
furface of the Earths Thus^ to give an exam- 
pie/ with regard to the hardnefs and foftnefs (^ 
bodies 3 heat and moiflure, they obferved^ were 



the great foftners of matter. Whatever was 
hard, therefore^ owed that quality either to the 
abfenoe of heat, or to the abfence of moifture. 
Ice, cryftal, lead, gold, and almoft all metals, 
owed their hardnefs to the abfence of heat, and 
were, therefore, diffolveable by Fire. Rock- 
faiti, ni^tre, alum, and hard clay, owed that qua* 
lity to the abfence of moifture, and were, there- 
fore, diflblveable in water. And, in the fame 
manner, they endeavoured to conneft toge- 
ther moft of the other ungible qualities of mat- 
ter. Their principles of union, indeed, were 
Dften fuch as • had no real exiflence, and were 
always vagne . and undetermined in the higheft 
degree ; they were fuch, however, as might be 
ezpeded in the beginnings of fcience, and' fuch 
as, with all. their imperfeAions, could enable- 
mankind both to think and to talk, with more 
coherence, concerning tfaofe general fubjedis, 
than without them they would have been capa- 
ble of doing. Neither was their fyftem entirely 
devoid either of beauty or magnificence. Each 
of the Four Elements having^ a particular region 
allotted to it, had a place of reiV, to which it 
naturally tended, by its motion, either up or 
down, in a flraigbt line, and where, wl^en it 
had arrived, it naturally ceafed to move. Earth 
defcended, till it arrived at the place of Earth ; 
Water, till it arrived at that of Water; aijd Air, 
till ir arrived at that of Air; and there each of 
them tended to a ftate of eternal repofe and in- 
a^ion. The Spheres confifted of a Fifth Ele- 
L z ment» 


meat, which was neither light aor heavyi and 
whofe natural motion made it tend, . neither to the 
' center, nor from the center,, but yevolvc round, 
it in a circle-As, by this motion, they could 
never change their fituation with regard to the 
center, they had no place of; repofc, no place 
to which tbey naturally tended more than to 
any other, but revolved round and rotind for 
ever. This Fifth Element was fubje^l neither 
to generation nor corruption, nor alteration 
of any kind; for whatever ' changes may hap- 
pen in the Heavens, the fenfes can fcarce per- 
ceive them, and their appearance is the fame 
in one age as in another. The beauty, too, of 
their fuppofcd cryftalline fpheres fecmed ftill 
more to entitle them to this diiVindion of un* 
changeable immortality. It was the motion of 
thofe Spheres, which occafiohed the mixtures of 
the Elements, and from thence, the produflion 
of all the forms and fpecies, that diverfify the 
world. It was the approach of the Sun and of 
the other Planets,^ to the difierent parts- of the 
Earth, which, by forcing down the element of 
Fire, .'occafioned the generation of thofe forms. 
It was the recefs of thofe bodies, which, by al- 
lowing each Element to efcape to its proper 
fphere, brought about, in an equal time, their 
corruption. It was the periods df thofe great 
lights of Heaven, which meafisred'out to aHfub- 
lunajyr things,' the term of their duratioUy of 
their growth, and of their decay, either in one, 
or in i. number of feafons, according ai the H^ 
, . : ments 

HKToAy or ANCIEI*¥ PftYSICS. 145 

mients of wTiicH they were tompofed, were d- 
tirer imperfcAly or accuAteljr bfended' and mi:x- 
ed with one another. Immottality, they coirid 
Wftow tipon no individual form,' bfrcaufe thS 
principlfes out of which it was formed, all tena^ 
ing to difengage thetafelves, kud to return to 
their proper fpheres, necfeflkrily, at laft, brought 
^b^ut its diflblutibn. But, though all individu- 
al^ were thus periftiable, and conftantly'*'d^Cay- - 
ing, every fpeicies was immohal, becaufe the 
fubje£l matter out of which they were m'ade, and 
the revolution of the Heavens, the caufe of theft 
fucceflive generations, Were alwayi the fame. 

In the firft ages of the world, the" feeniirig iht 
coherence of the appearances of nature, fo coii- 
fbunded mankind, that they defpaifed of difcd^- 
vering in her operations any * regular fyftenJ, 
Their ignorancis,' arid cqnfufibn-t)f 'thbught, ne- 
eidfarily gave birth to that pufillanimous fuperfff- 
tion, which afcribes almoft every unexpelSi*J8l 
event, to the arbitrary will of f6me defignin^, 
though invifible beings, who prodiiced it Wt 
fome private and particular purpofe. The idea 
of an imiverfal mind, of a God of all, who orK 
ginally formed the whole, and who governs thfe 
whole by general laws, direfted tb the conferva- 
tion and profperity of the whole, without regard 
to that of any private individual, was a notion 
to which they' were utterly ftrangers. Thefr 
gods, though they Werfe apprehended to inter- 
pofc, upon fome particular occiafions, were fo far 



from being regarded, as the creators of the 
world, that their origin was apprehended to be 
pofterior to that of the world. The Earth, ac- 
cording to Heiiod^ was the firft prpduiftion of 
the chaos. The Heavens arofe put of thp Earth, 
and from both together, all the gods, who af- 
terwards inhabited them. Nor was this notioa 
confined to the vulgar, and to thofe po^ts who 
feem to have recorded the vulgar thcplogy. Of 
all the philofophers of the Ionian fchool, Anax- 
agoras, it is well known, was the firfl who.fupr 
pofed, that mind and underllanding were requi- 
fite to. account for the firft origin of the world, 
and who, therefore, compared whh the other 
philofophers of his time, tialked, as Ariftotlc 
obferves, like a fober man among drunkards; 
but whofe opinion was, at that tinie> fo remark- 
able, that he fecms to have got a firname from 
it. The fame.nottion, of tj^e fpontaneous origin 
of the world, was embraced, too, as th^ lame 
aythor tells us, by the early Pythagoreans, a 
fed, which, in the antient world, was never re- 
garded as irreligious. Mind, and underftand- 
ing, confequeqtly Deity, being the moft per- 
feft, were neceffarily, according to them, the 
laft produftiofts of Nature. For in all other 
things, what was moft pcrfcft^ they obferved, 
always came laft. As in plants and animals, 
it is not the feed that is moft p^rfefl, but the 
complete animal, with its members, in the one; 
and the complete plant, with all its branches, 
leaves, flowers, and fruits, 'in the other. This 



lUitioo, which could take place only while Nan 
iure was dill coofidered ^s, in fom^ ipeafprej 
diforderly and iuconftaat in her operations, was 
necefiarily renounced by thofe philofophers, 
when, upon a more atteqtive furvey, they dif- 
covered, or imagined they had difcovered, more 
diftinAly, the chain which bouad all h^r difie- 
rent part^ to one another. A9 foon a$ the Vnu 
verfe was regarded as a complete machine,, as 
a coherent fyfiem, governed by gepers^l laws, 
and direded to general ends, viz. its own pre^ 
fervation and prqfperity, and that of all the 
fpecies that are in it; the refemblance which it 
evidently bore to thofe machines which are pro- 
duced by human art, neceflarily imprefied thofe 
fages with ^ belief, that in the original forma- 
tion of the world there mpft have been em- 
ployed an art refembliu}; the human art, but as 
much fuperior to it, as the wpjld is fuperipr to 
the machines which that art produces. The 
unity of the /yftem!, which, according to thi^ 
ancient philofophy, is mpft perfei^, fuggefted 
the idea of the unity, of th^t principle, hj 
whofe art it was formed ; and thus, as ignorance 
begot fuperflition, fcience gave birth tp the firil 
theiffn that arofe among thofe nations, who were 
not enlightened by divine Revelation. Accord- 
ing to Timaeus, who was followed by Plato, 
that intelligent £eing, who formed, the world, 
endowed it with a principle of life and under-* 
ftanding, which extends from its centre to its 
remoteft circumference, which is confcious of 



til itS' changes, and which governs and dired^ 
all its motions to the great end. of its formatioil. 
This Soul of the World was itfelf a God, the 
greateA of all the infe[rior, and created deities; 
of an efledcc thaft was* iudiffoldbla, by any 
power >but by that of him who 4»ade it, -and 
which was united to the body, of the world,' fo 
as to be infdparable by every force, but his who 
joined them, from the exertion of which his 
goodnefs fecured them* The beauty of the ce*. 
leftial fpheres attraAing the admiration of-man-^ 
kind, the conftancy and regularity of their mo-^ 
tions feeming to manifeft peculiar wifdoni and 
underftanding, they were each of them Sup* 
pofed to be animated by an Intelligence. of a 
nature that was, in the fame manneir, irdiffo^ 
luble and immortal, and iofeparably ^united to 
that fphere which it inhabited. AIL the mortal 
and changeable beings which people the futface 
of the earth were formed by thofe inferior dei- 
ties ; for the tevolutions of the heavenly bodies 
feemed plainly to influence the generation ai}d 
growth of both plants and animals, whofe frail 
and fadi^ig forms bore the too evident marks of 
the weaknefs of thofe inferior caufes, which 
joined their different parts to one another. .-Ac- 
cording to Plato and' Timceus, neither the Um-^ 
verfe, ^or even tbofe inferior deities^ who go- 
vern' the Univcrfe, were eternal, but were form- 
ed in time, by the great Author, of all things, 
out of tiiat^ matter which had exifted from all 
eternity* This at leaft their, words fecm to im* 


at^rofe* OF ANCiENt physics; {49 

pan; and thu« they are tinderftood ):>y Cicero 
and by all ike^ther Avmersof eafrlifef antiquity,' 
though- fome of the hter ^Platonifts have inter-j 
pretcd them diflferentlyV * -^-'^ ■ * 

According t6 Ariftbtlc!, who' feefrf§ td hSV^ 
followed the d6aribe of t^ellus, the'wirrrd ^af 
eterttal} the etferna^-eiFedi'-of an et^fiiaPc^fb? 
HC'fofend'it'difficult/' it would feem, tocoifcfeiv^ 
what could hindSr^^thfe Fiirff C^i fV6m'^e!xert- 
ing his* divine energy '{idik alt 'eternity/^ ^t 
whatever time' he begah t6 es^rt it, he*muff 
have been at rfeft during '^11' the infinite ages of 
that eternity which had paffed before it; 'T^ 
what obftruaidn, from within, or from WitJiout"' 
could thii be owing? or hoW' could this obstruc- 
tion, if ever it had ftibfifted, have ever been 
removed? His idea of the' nature and manner 
of exift«nce of this Pif ft ■ Caufe, as it is ex- 
preffed iri the laft* book of his t^hytics, and 
the five laft chapters of' his Metaphyfic^, is 
indeed obfcure and unintelligible in the higheft 
degree, and has perplexed his commentatori 
more than anyotherpatts of* his writings.. ^Thus 
far, however, he feems to exprefs himfelf plainly 
enough: that thie' Fi'rft Heavens, that of the 
Fixed Stars, from which are derived the mo- 
tions of all the reft, is revolved by an eternal, 
immoveable, unchangeable,' unextended being, 
whofe eflcnice confifts in intelligence, as that of 
a b6dy' -confifts in folidity andextenfionj and 
1 >whieh is therefore neceffarily and always intel- 


ligent, as a body is ];ieceirarily an4 ^(Iways cx« 
tcoded: tbat this Being was the firft and fu- 
preme p^ovcv of the UDiy4;rfe: that th^ inferior 
Planetary, Spheres derived each of them its pe- 
culiar revolution from an inferior being of the 
fame kind; eterns^U immoveabl^:i unextended, 
wd necefTi^rily i^telligent: that the fole ohjeSt 
of the intellig^^ace of thof^ beings was their 
9WQ effence, and the revolution of their own 
jfpheres; all other inferior things being unwor-* 
thy of their c^nfid^ra^ionj and that therefore 
"whatever was beloyr the Moon was abandoned 
by the gpds to the diredion of Nature, and 
phance and Nieceflity. For ^hough thofe cc- 
leftial b^ingai were, by the revolutions of their 
feve^^l Spheres, the qrigin^il paufes of the ge- 
neration and corruption of all fublunary forms, 
they were cfiufes who neither knew npr intended 
the eSc6ks which they produced. This renown- 
ed philofopher feems^. in: his theological no- 
lions> to have been dire^ed by prejudices 
which, though extremely natural, are not very 
philofophical, The revolutions of the Heavens, 
by their grandeur ar^d cppftancy, excited his 
admiration, and feemed^ upon that account, to 
be effeds not unworthy a Divine Intelligeace. 
Whereas the me^npefs of many things, the 
diforder and confufioi^ of all things below, ex- 
citing no fuch agreeable emotion, feemed to 
have no marks of being diredled by that Su- 
preme Underftanding. Yet, though this opi- 
nion faps the foundations of human woriliips 



and muft have the fame effe^$ upcm fqckty as 
Atheifm itfelf, one rn^y cafily trace, iu the Me-r 
taphyjics upon which it is grounded, the o^gia 
of many of the notions, or rather of many of 
the expreffions, in thie fchola^ic theology, to 
which DO notion^ c^n be annexed 

The StoicQ, the mod religious of all the an^ 
cient fe£ls of philofophers, feem in this, as ii^ 
moft other things, to have altered and refined 
upon the doftrine of Plato. The order, har- 
mony, and coherence which this philpfophy be« 
ftowied upon the Univerfal Syf^em, ftruck thena 
with awe an^ veneration. As, in the rude ages 
of the world, whatever particular part of Na- 
ture excited tl\c ?id miration of mankind, was 
apprehended to be animated by fome particular 
divinity J fo the whole o( Nature having, by 
their reafonings, become equally the objefl of 
admiration, was equally apprehended to be ani- 
mated by a Univerfal Deityi to be itfelf a Di- 
vinity, an Animal ; a term which to our cars 
feems by no me^ns fynoninious with the fore- 
going; whofe body was the folid and fenfible 
parts of Nature, and whpfe foul was that aethe* 
rial Fire, which penetrated and afluated the 
^hole. For of all the four elements, out of 
which all things were compofed. Fire or ^ther 
feemed to be that which bore the greatefl re* 
femblance to the Vital Principle which informs 
both plants and animals, and therefore moft 
likely to be the Vital Principle which animated 



the tfaiverfc. This infinite and unbounded 
-S^ther,, Avhich extends itfelf from the centre be- 
yond the reraoteft circumference of Nature, and 
was endowed with the moft confummatc reafon 
and intelligence, or rather was itfelf the very ef- 
fence of reafon and intelligence, had originally 
formed the world, and had comniunicated a por- 
tion, or ray, of its own effence to whatever was 
endowed with life and fenfation, which, upon 
thediflblutionof thofc forms, either immediately 
or Tome time after, was again abforbed into that 
ocean of Deity from whence it had originally 
been detached. In this fyftem the Sun, the Moon, 
the Planets, and the Fixed Stars, were each of 
them alfo inferior divinities, animated by a de- 
tached portion of that act herial ettence which was 
the foul of the wold. In the fyftem of Plato, the 
Intelligence which animated the world was differ- 
ent from that which originally formed it. Neither 
were thefe which animated the celeftial fpheres, 
por thofe which iriformed inferior terreftrial ani- 
mals, regarded as portions o£ this plaffic foulof 
the world. Upon\the (iiflblu'tion of animals, 
therefore, their fouls were not abforbed iri (be foul 
of the world, but had a fcparate and eternal exif- 
tence, which gave birth to the notion of the tranf- 
migraiion of fouls. Neither did it feehi unnatural, 
that, as the fame mauer \yhich had compofeci one 
animal body might be employed to compofe ano- 
ther, that the fame intelligence w!hich had ani- 
mated one fuch being ftiQuld again animate ano- 
ther- '*But in the fyftem of the Stoics, the intelli- 


gence which originally formed, and that which 
animated the world, were one and the fame, all 
inferior intelligences were detached portions of 
the great one; and therefore, in a longer, or in a 
fliorter time, were all of them, even the gods 
themfelves, who animated the celeftial bodies, 
to be at laft refolved into the infinite effcnce of 
this almighty Jupiter, who, at a deftined period, 
fliould, by an univerfal conflagration, wrap up all 
things, in that setherial and fiery nature, out of 
which they had originally been deduced, again 
to bring forth a new Heaven and a new Earth, 
new animals, new men, aew deities; all of which 
would again, at a fated time, be fwallowcd up in 
alike conflagration, again to be re-produced, and 

again to be re-deftroyed, and fo on without end. 










O P T H E 


IN evfe^y tVanfmiitation, either of one element 
Into another, or of one compound body> either 
into the elements o\it of which it was compofed, 
or into another compound body, it feemed evi- 
dent, that, both in the oldahd in the new fpecies, 
there was fomething that was the fame, and fome- 
thiog that was different. When Fire was chang- 
ed into Air, or \Vater into Earth, the Stuff, or 
SubjeSl-mat'ter of this Air and this Earth, was 
evidently the fame with that of the former Fire 
or Water; but the Nature or Species of thofe 
new bodies was entirely different. . When, in the 
fame manner, a number of frefh, green, and 
odoriferous flowers were thrown togeiher in a 
lieap; they, in a Ihort time, entirely changed 
their nature, became putrid and loaihfome, and 
diflblved into a confufed mafs of ordure, which 
bore no refemblance, either in its fenfiblc quali* 
ties or in its cffeds, to their former beautiful ap- 
M pearance. 


pearance. But how different focver the fpecici 
the fubje^^ matter oflbe flowers, and of the oi 
dure, was, in this cafe too, evidently the fam< 
In cveiy body, therefore, whether ^fimple o 
mixed, there were evidently two principles, whol 
combination conflituted the whole nature of tlu 
particular body, 'the £rft was the Stuff, or Sub 
jeft-matter, out. of which it was made; the fe 
cbnd was the Species, the Specific Efieste, tb< 
Effential; or^ as the fchoolmen have called it 
the Subftantial Form of the Body. The firH 
feemed to be the fame in all bodies, and to hav< 
neither qualities nor powers of any kind, but tc 
be altogether inert and imperceptible by any ol 
the fenfes, till it was qualified and rendered fen- 
fible by its union with fomc fpecies dr effential 
form. All the qualities and powers of bodies 
feemed to depend upon their fpecies or effential 
forms. It was not the Stuff or matter of Rrc, ot 
Air, or Earth, or Water, which enabled thofe 
elements to produce their fevcral effcfls, but that 
eilential form which was peculiar to each of them. 
For it feemed evident, that Fire muft produce 
the effeds of Fire^ by that which rendered it 
Fire; Air, by that which rendered it Air; and 
that in the fame manner all other fimple andmixt 
bodies muft produce their feveral effefts, by that 
which conftituted them fuch or fuch bodies ; that 
is, by their fpecific Effence or effential fonns. 
But it is from the effeds of bodies upon one ano- 
ther, that all the changes and revolutions in the 
material world arife. Since thefe, therefore, de- 


pendupon the fpecific eflences of thofe bodies, 
it muft be the bufinefs of philofophy, that fcience 
which endeavours to conned together all the dif- 
ferent changes that occur in the world, to deter> 
n)ine wherein the fpecific Eifence of each obje& 
confifts, ia order to forefee what changes or 
revolutions may be expeded from it» But 
the fpecific Eflence of each individnal obje£): ' 
is not that which is peculiar to it a^ an iiuii«- 
vidual, but that which is common to it, widi 
all other objedis of the fame kind. Thus the 
fpecific Effence of the Water, which new fiands 
before me, does not confifl: in its being heated by 
the fire, or cooled by the Air, in fuch a particu* 
lar degree ; in its being contained in a vefleL of 
fuch "ai fomi, or of fuch dimenfions. Theie are 
all accidental circumftances, which are altoge»> 
tfaer extraneous to its general nature, and upoa 
'which none of its effe£ls as Water depend* Phi* 
lofophy, therefore, in coafidering the general 
nature of Water, takes no notice of thofe particu«> 
Urs which are peculiar to this Water, but con- 
fines itfelf to thofe things w^ich ace common to * 
all Water. If 4n the progrefs of its enquiries, it 
ihould defcend to confider the nature of Water 
that is modified by fuch particular accidents, it 
ilill would not confine its confideration to thia 
Water contained in this veflel, and thus heated 
at this fire, but would extend its views to Water 
in general contained in fuch kind of veiTels, and 
heated to fuch a degree at fuch a fire. In'every 
cafe, therefore, Species, or XJniverfals, and not 
M z Individuals^ 


Individuals, are the (Ageds of Philofophy. Be^ 
caufe whatever effeAs are prodaced by individu^ 
als, whatevei" changes can flow from them, mu& 
all proceed from fome univerfal nature that is con- 
tained in them. As it was the bufinefs of Phyiics^ 
or Natural Phiiofophy, to determine wherein con* 
Med the Nature and EiTence of every particular 
Species of things, in order to conned together all 
the different evente that occur in the material 
world ; fo there were two Other fciences, which, 
though they had originally arifen out of that fyf- 
tem of Natural Philofophy I have juft been de- 
fcribing, were, however, apprehended to go be-^ 
foreit> in the order in which the knowledge of 
Nature ought to be communicated* The firft of 
thefe, Metaphyfics, coniidered the general na^ 
ture of Uuiverials, and the different forts or fpe* 
cies into which they might be divided. The f^ 
cond of thefe, L<^ics, was built upon this doc- 
trine of Metaphyfics; and from the general na* 
ture of Univerfals, and of the forts into which 
they were divided^ endeavoured to afceruin the 
general rules by which we might diftribute all par- 
ticular objeds into general clafles, and determiDe 
to what clafs each individual objed belonged; for 
In this, they juftly enough apprehended, confifted 
the whole art of philofophical reafoning. As the 
firft of thdfe two fciences, Metaphyfics, is altoge- 
ther fbbordinate tb the fecond. Logic, theyfeem, 
before the time of Ariftotle, to have been regard- 
ed as one, and to have made up between them 
that ancient DialeAic of which we hear (omnch 



iflkd of which we undierftand fo little: nettheir 
does this feparation fe^m to have been much atr 
tended to, either by his own followers, th^ anci- 
ent Peripatetics, or by any other of the old fcfts 
of philofophers. The later fchpoln^en, indeed^ 
have diftioguifhed between Ontology s^idXiOgic ; 
but their Ontology contains bu( a fmall part of 
what is the fubjed of the metaphyfic^l bopks of 
Ariftotle, the greater part of which, thedoAripes 
of Univerfals, and every thing thfit is preparatov 
ry to the arts of defining and dividing, has, iinc^ 
the days gf Porphvry, been inferted into th^if 

According to Plato and Timseus, the princi-^ 

pies oQt of which the Deity formed the World, 

and which were themfelves eternal, nirere three in 

number. The Subjeft-matter of thwgs, the Spe^ 

cies or fpiccific EfTences of things, and w|iat waflf 

made out of ^befe, the fenfible objef^s themfelves. 

Thefe lai^ had nq proper or durable exiftence, 

but were in perpetual flu? and fqcceffipn. For as 

Heraclitus had (aid, that nq nnap ey<;r pafTed the 

fame river twice) becaufe the water which he had 

paifed 9ver once was gone before he could pafa 

over it a fecpnd time ; fo, in the (an^e n^ai^ner, 

no man ever faw, or heard, or touched the fanie 

fenfible obje6^ twice. When I look s|t %h^ win* 

dow, for example, the vifible fp(^ie3, which 

ftrikes my eyes this moment, thoiugh refembling, 

is different from that which ftruck my eyes the 

immediately preceding moment. When I ring 



the bell, the found, or audible fpecics which I 
hear this moment, though refembiing in the fame 
manner, is different, however, from thjat which 
I heard the moment before. When I lay my hand 
on the table, the tangible fpecies which I feel this 
moment, though refembling, in the fame man. 
ner, is numerically different too from that which 
I felt the moment before. Our fenfations, there- 
fore, never properly exift or endure one nio 
ment ; bur, in the very inflant of theiy genera- 
tion, perifli and 'lire annihilated for ever* Nor 
are the caufes of thofe fenfations more permanent, 
No corporeal fubftance is ever exaftly the faroe» 
cither in whole or in^any affignable part, duriog 
two fucceffive moments, but by the perpetual ad- 
dition of new parts, . as well as lofs of old ones, 
is in continual flux and fuccefiion. Things of fa 
fleeting a nature can never be the objefls of 
fcience, or of any fteady or permanent judg- 
ment. While we look at them, in order to 
confider them, they are changed and. gone, and 
annihilated for ever. The objeds of fcience, 
and of all the fteady judgments of the under- 
flanding, muft be permanent, unchangeable, al^ 
ways exiftent, and liable neither to generation 
nor corruption, nor alteration of any kind. Such 
are the fpecies or fpecific effences of things. 
Man is perpetually changing every particle of his 
body ; and every thought of his mind is in con- 
tinual flux and fucceflion. But huoiauity, or hu- 
man nature, is always exiftent, is always the 
fame, is never geflerated, and is never corrupted. 
This, therefore, is the objeft of fcience, reafon, 


ANI^ METAPHY8ie& i^ 

aQdimderfiandiog, as man is the objed 9f fenfet. 
and of thofe inconftaat opinions which are fomid^ 
ed upon fenfe. As the objefls of fenfe were ap- 
prehended to have an externat exiftence, inde* 
pendent of the aft of fcnfation, fo thefe objefts 
of the underftanding were much more fuppofed to 
have an external exillence independent of the aft 
of underfi^Miding. Thefe external eflences were^ 
according to Plato, the exemplars, according to 
which the Deity formed the world, and all the 
fenfible objeds that are in it. The Deity compre- 
hended within his infinite eflfcnce, all thefe fpe-^ 
cies, or eternal exemplars, in the fame manner 
as he comprehended all fenfible objeA^» 

Plato, however, feems to have regarded the firft 
of thofe as equally diftinft with the fecond from 
what we would now call the Ideas or Thoughts of 
theDiyine Mind*, aQd ^vep ta have fuppofed,, 


^ He c«Ut tliem, indetd, Uez^ a word wkich, in him, m 
Ariftotle^ and all the other writers of earlier antiquity, figni- 
(es a Species, and is pcrfedlj fynonimoui ix^th that other 
word Ei}h » more frequently made ufe of bj Ariftotle. Aa, by 
ibme of the later feda of ph^Iofqphen^, particularly by the Stoic«| 
all fpecies, or fpecific eifencef, were regarded a» mere creaturet 
of the mind, formed by abftradion, which had no real exif* 
teiKe external to the tboughis that conceived them, the word 
Idea came, by degieei, to its prefent figntfication, to mean, 
fiift, an abftraft thought ot conception ; and afterwards, a 
thought or conception of any kind; and thus became fynony* 
nous with that other Greek word £vmi«, from which it had 
wigiaally a very different meaning. When the later Plato* 
>ifii, who lived at a time when the notion of the feparate ex* 
ifteuce of fpecific eflences were univerfally exploded, began to 
^^BUQMt U{H)n the writings of Flato^ and upon that firange 



that they had a particular place of exiftcncc, be 
yond the fphere of the vifible corporeal world ; 


fancy that, in kii writings, there wai a double doAriiie j z^ 
tkatthe/ were intended to feem to mean one thing, while a| 
bottom the/ meant a vcty different, which the writings of n^ 
man in his fenfes ever, were, or ever could be intended to do t 
they reprefenced his do6brtr(e as meaning do more, than thai 
the Deity formfd the woi^ after what we would now call aH 
Idea, or plan conceived in his own mind, in the ia^me ^^annq 
as any other artift. But, if Plato had meant to e^prefs Jit\ 
morethr.n this moit natur;^land SmpIe.of a^l notions, hemighj 
fuTcly have expreffedit more plainly, and would hardly, oii< 
would thinh, have talked of k with io much emphafis, as oj 
fomething which it r^qjuired the utmoft reach of thought uj 
comprehend. According to this reprefentation, Plato's notion 
of Species, or Unirerfals, was the fame^ with that of An^otle. 
AriHotle, however, does aol leem to i^nderftand it as fuchj 
he beftows a great part of his Metaphyfics upon confudog it, 
andoppofesitin all his other works ; nor does he, in anj one 
of them, give theleaft hint, or infinuation, as if it could be 
fufpeded that, by the Ideas of Plato, was meant the thoughts 
or conceptions of the Divine Mind. Is it poilible that he, Who 
was twenty years in hi% fchooj, fhouU, during all that time, 
have mifu^derftood him, efpecialiy. when hia meaning was fo 
very plain and obvioua? Neither is this notion of thef^arate 
ezifienciQ of Species, diftind both &om the mind which con- 
ceives them, and from the feniible objects which ace made to 
Tefemble th^m, pne Qi thofe doArines which Plato would but 
feldom have occafion to 'talk of. However it may be inter- 
preted, it is the very ba$s of his philofophy *, neither is there a 
£ngle dial9(g.ue in all his woAs which does, not refier to it. Shall 
we fuppofe, that that great philofopber, who appears to have 
been fo much fi^erior to his mailer in every thing but elo- 
quence, wilfully, and upon all occaiions, milreprefemed* no^ 
one of the deep and myfterious dodrines of the phibfophy of 
Plato, but the firft and moft fundamental principle of all his 



fhough this has been much controverted, both 
by the kter Platonifts, and by fomc very judi- 


^fbningy; when the writings of Plato were in the handt o( 
every body ; when his followers and difciples were fpread aU 
over Greece-, when almoft tytxy Athenian of diftinftion^ 
that was nearly of the fame s^ge with Ariftotle, muft h^ve ^ 
heen bred in his fchool ; when Speqiippaa^ the nephew and 
fuccefibr of Plato, a^s well as Xenocrates, w^o continued the 
fchool in the Academy, at the fame time that Ariftotle held 
kis in the Lyceum, muft l^ave been ready, at all ^mes, to ex- 
pofe and ailront him for fuch ^rofi difingenuity. Does not 
Cicero, does not Seneca underftand this dodtrine in the fame 
manner as Ariftotle has reprefented it ? Is there any author 
in all antiquity who feems to underftand it otherwife, earlier 
than Plutarchi an author, who feems to hav^ b^en as bad a 
eritic in philofophy as in hillory, and to have t^ken every 
thing at fecond-hand in both, and who lived after the 
origin of th^t eclectic philofophy, from whence the latei: 
Platonifts arofe, and who feeois himfelf to have been one of 
that fedt ? Is there any one paflage in any Greek author, near, 
the time of Ariftotle and Plato, in which the wprd Idea is 
uied in its prefent meaning, to fignify a thought or concep- 
tion? Are' not the words^ yihich in all languages expreft 
Teality or exiftence, direAIy oppofed to thofe which exprefs 
thought, or conception only ? Or^ is there any other diffe* 
rence betwixt a thing that exifts, and a thing that does not 
«xift, except this, that the one is a mere conception, and that 
the other is fomething more than a conception ? With what 
propriety, therefore, could Plato t^\k of thofe eternal fpecies,' 
n of the only thingi which had any real exiftence, if they ' 
were no more than the conceptions of the Divine Mind? 
Had not the Deity, according to Plato, as well as accordmg 
to the Stoics, from all eternity, the idea of every individual, 
as well as of eve;ry fpedes, and of the ftate in which every 
individual was to be, in each different inftance of its e2;iftence ? 
Were not all the (Kvine ideas, therefore, of each individual, or 



cious modern critics> who have follo\ved iht in« 
terpretation of the later Platonifts^: aa^ wh%t did 


«f all the diflferent dates, wHich eack iadiTidual wat to be uv 
during the courfe of its exigence, equally eternal and unalter- 
able with thofe of the fpecies? With what fenfe, tiKre£(»re» 
could Plato fay, that the firft were eternal, becaufe the Deity 
Kad conceived them from all eternity, fince he had c«nceive4 
tne others from all eternity too, and iiuce hiai ideas of the Spe- 
cies could, in this refped^, have no advantage of thoie of thq 
individual? Does not Plato» in niany different places^ talk of 
the Ideas of Species or Univerfals as innatt, and baviag been 
impreffed upon the mind in its Hate of pre-exiftence, when it 
}ud an opportunity of viewing thefe Species as they are iu 
tkemfelves, and not as they are exprelTed in their o^ies^ oi* 
jeprefentative upon earth ? But if the only place of thQ 
cxiilence of thofe Species was the Divine Mind, will not thia 
iiippofe, that Plato either imagined, like Father Malbranche^ 
that in its ilate of pre-exiftence» the mind faw all things in 
God ; or that it was itfeif an emanation of the Divinity? 
That he maintained the iirft opinion^ ^'iU. not be pretended 
by any body who is at all verfed in the hiftory of fcience. 
That enthufiailic notion, though it may feem to bt favoured 
by ibme paflages in the Fathers, was never, it is well kndwa» 
coolly and literally maintained by any body before that Car- 
tefian philofopher. That the human mind was it&lf an ema- 
nation of the Divine, though it was the doArine of the Stoics, 
was by no means that of Plato ; though, upon the notion of a 
pretended double doftrine, the contrary has lately been averted. 
According to Plato, the Deity formed the foul of the w«rld 
<uit of that fiibllance which is always the fame, that is, out of 
Species or Univerfals*, out of that wl^ch is always difiertnt, 
that is, out of corporeal fubflances; and out of afubiUn<M 
that was of a middle nature between cheie, which it is not tufy 
to underiland what he meant by. Out of a part of the fiimff 
compofition, he made thofe inferior intelligences who suunuited 
the celefdal ipheres, to whom he delivered the lemaiaiog p>vt 



moft honour to the judgment of that rcnowne4 
philofopher. All the objeds in this world, con* 
tiDu6d he,, are particular aii'd individual. Here, 
therefore, the human mind has no opportunity 
of feeing any' Species, or Univerfal Nature* 
Whatever ideas it has, therefore, of fuch beings, 
for it plainly has them, it muft derive from th6 
XQemory of what it has feen, in fome former pe-r 
riod of its exiftence, when it had an opportunity 
of vifuing the place or Sphere of Univerfals, 
For fonie time after it is immerled in the body, 
during its infancy, its childhood, aud a great 
part of its youth, the violence of thofe paflions 
ivLich it derives from the body, and which are 
all directed to the particular and individual ob* 
je^s of this world, hinder it from turning its 
attention to thofe Univerfal Natures, with which 
it had been ronverfani in the world from whence 
it came. The Ideas, of thefe, therefore, feem, 
iathis firft period of its exigence here, to be 
oirerwhelmed in the confufion of thofe turbulent 
emotions, and to be almoft entirdy wiped out 
of its remembrance. During the continuance 
of this (late, it is incapable of Reafoning, Sci-> 
ence and Philofophy, which are converfant 


of it» to form from tbeoce the fouls of men and animals. The 
ibuls of thofe inferior deities, though made out of a fimilar 
fiibftasce or compofition, yirtrt not regarded as parts, or ema- 
nations of that of the world ; nor were thofe of animals, ia 
the fame manner, regarded as parts or emanations of thofe in- 
ferior deities; much leis were anj of them regarded as. partly 
or emanations of the great Author of all things. 


^bo^t IJniverf^U. It9 whole attention is turned 
upwards particular objedls, concerning which, 
teing dire£led by nq general notions^ it form^ 
ipany vain and falfe opinions, ^nd is filled with 
prror, perplexity, and conftifion. But, when 
fige ha^ abated thg violence of its paflions, and 
compofed the cpnfufion of its thoughts, it then 
becomes more capable of refle^iion, and of turn- 
ing its attention to thpfe almoil forgotten ideas 
of things with \(^hich it had been converf^ot m 
the former ftate of its exiftcnce, AU the par- 
ticular objeAs in this fenfible world, beiog 
formed after the eternal exe^plar^ in (hat in- 
telledual world, awaken^ upon Recount of their 
refemblance, infenfibly, and by flow degrees, 
the almoft obliterated ideas of ^hcfe lafl. The 
|)eauty, which is fhared in different degrees 
amoDg terrellrial objefts, revives the fame idea 
pf that ypiverfal Nature of beauty which ex: 
ifis ii^ the intelledual world : particular aSs of 
juftice, of the univerfal nature of juftice ; par- 
ticular reafoniugs, and particular fciences, of 
the univerfal pature of fcieqce, ^nd reafoning; 
particular roundnefibs, of the univerfal nature 
of roundnefs ; particular fquares, of the univer- 
fal nature of fquarenefs. Thus fcience, which 
is couverfaiit about Univerfala, i^ derived from 
memory; and to infirud^ any perfoa concernioS 
the general nature of any fubjed, is no more 
thap to awfken in him the remembrance of 
what he formerly knew abopf It, This both 
Plato and Socrates imagined they could fiil^ 


And metaphysics. t^ 

further cdnfinn, by the fallacious ^acperimeat,^ 
i¥hich ihewed, that a perfon might be led to 
difcover himfelf, without any information, any 
general truth, of which he was before igno* 
rant, merely by being afked a number of pro- 
perly arranged and conneded queflions con* 
ceming it« 

The more the foul was accuftomed to the 
confideration of thofe Univerfal Natures, the 
lefs it was attached to any particular and indi- 
vidual objedis ; it approached ' the nearer to the 
original perfedion of its nature, from which, 
according to this philofophy, it had fallen. 
Philofophy, which accuiloms it to confider the 
general Eflence of things only, and to abftrafl 
from all their particular and feniible circum- 
fiances, was, upon this account,* regarded as 
the great purifier of the foul. As death fepa- 
rated the foul from the body, and from the 
bodily fenfes and paffions, it reftored it to that 
intelleAual world, from whence it had origi- 
nally defcended, where no fenfible Species called 
off its attention from thofe general fiflences of 
things. Philofophy, in this life, habituating it 
to the fame confiderations, brings it, in fome 
degree, to that fiate of happinefs and perfec- 
tion, to which death refiores the fouls of juft 
men in a life to cpme. 

Such was the dofirine of Plato concerning 
the Species or Specific Eflence of things. This, 



«t leaft, is what his words feem to import, and 
thus he is underftood by Ariftotle, the moft 
Intelligent and the moft renowned of all his 
tlifciples. It is a dodrine, which, like many 
of the other dodlrines of abftraft Philofophy, 
Is more coherent in the lexpreiSon than in the 
idea ; and which feems to have arifen, more from 
the nature of language, than from the nature of 
things. With all its imperfedions it was cxcu- 
iable, in, the beginnings of philofophy, and is 
not a great deal more remote from the truth, 
than many others which have fince been fubfti- 
tuted in its room by fome of the greateft pretend- 
ers to accuracy and precifion. Mankind have 
had, at all times, a ftrong propenfity to rea!ize 
their own abflradions, of which we fhall imme- 
diately fee an e^cample, in the notions of that 
very philofopter who firft expofed the ill-ground- 
ed foundation of thofe Ideas, or Univerfals, of 
Plato and Timaeus. To explain the nature, 
and to account for the origin of general Ideas, 
is, even at this day, the greateft difficulty in ab- 
ftraft philofophy. How the human mind, when 
it rcafons concerning the general nature of tri- 
angles, ftiould either conceive, as Mr. Locke 
imagines it does, the idea of a triangle, which is 
neither obtufangular, nor reftangular, nor acu- 
tangular ; but which was at once both none and 
all of thofe together ; or ftiould, as Malbranche 
thinks neceflary for this purpofe, comprehend 
at once, within its finite capacity, all poflibte 
triangles of all poffible forms . and dimenfions, 



ivhich are infiaite in number, is a qneftion, to 
which it is furely not eafy to give a fatisfaiSory 
anfwer. Malbranche> to folve it, had reconrfe 
to the enthufiaflic and iiDintelligible notion of 
the intimate union of the human mind with the 
divine, in whofe infinite eflfence the immenfity 
of fuch fpecies could alone be comprehended ; 
and in which alotie, therefore, all finite intelli- 
gences could have an opportunity of viewing 
them. If, after more than two thoufand years 
reafoning about this fubje6t, this ingenious and 
Tublime philofopher was forced to have recourfe 
to fo ftrange a fancy, in order to e:itplain it, can 
we wonder that Plato, in the very firft <lawn- 
ings of fcience, fliould, for the fame purpofe, a- 
dopt an hypothefis, which has been thought, 
without much reafon, indeed, to have fome af- 
finity to that of Malbranche, and which is not 
more out of the way ? 

What feems to have mifled thofe early philofo- 
phers, was, the notion, which appears, at firft, 
natural enough, that thofe things, out of which 
any objeft is compofed, muft exift antecedent to 
that objeft. But the things out of which all par- 
ticular objefts feem to be compofed, are the ftuff 
or matter of thofe objefts, and the form or fpe- 
cific Eflence, which determines them to be of 
this or that clafs of things. Thefe, therefore, 
it was thought, muft have exifted antecedent to 
the object which was made up between them. 



l^iato, who held, that the fenfible world, which* 
according to him, is the world of individuals, 
Was made in time, neceffarily conceived, that 
both the univerfal matter* the objed of a fpuri- 
pus reafon, and the fpeci^c eflencei the objeft 
of proper reafon and philofophy out of which 
it was compofed, muft have had a feparate ejEif- 
tence from all eternity* This inteiledual worlds 
very different from the intelld6lt;iai wotld of Cud- 
worth, though much of the language of one has 
been borrowed from that of the othei*, Was ne- 
ceffarily, and always eziftent ; whereas the fen* 
iible world owed its origin to the free will and 
bounty of its author* 

A notion of this kind, as long as it is ezpreff- 
fed in very general language; as long as it is not 
much refted upon; nor attempted to be very 
particularly and diftindly explained, paiT^ ealily 
enough, through the indolent imagination, ac- 
cuftomed to fubftitutc words in the room of 
ideas ; and if the words feem to hang eafily to« 
gether, requiring no great preciiion in the ideas< 
It vauifties, indeed ; is difcovered to be altoge- 
ther incomprehenfible, and eludes the grafp of 
the imagination, upon an attentive confideration. 
It requires, however, aa attentive confideration ; 
and if it had been as fortunate as many other 
opinions of the fame kind, and about the fame 
fubje£^, it might, without examination, have con- 
tinued to be the current pholofopby for a centu- 


ry or two. Ariftotle, however* feems icaineidiat^ 
ly to have difcoyer^d, thai it was impoflible to 
coaceive, as adually exiileat, either that general 
matter, which was not determined by any parti-; 
cular fpocies, or thofe fpecies which wese not 
embodied, if one may fay fo, in fome particular 
portion of matter* Ariftotle, too* held, as we 
have. already obferved, the eternity of the fcnfi- 
ble world. Thoiigli he held, therefore, that all 
fcnfible obje£ls were made up of two prin^iplest 
both of which, he calls, equally, fubftances, the 
matter and the fpecific cfflcnce, hd was not oblig- 
ed to hold, like Plato, that thofe principles ex^ 
ified prior in the order of time to the objeft^ 
which they afterwards compofed. They were 
prior, he faid, in nature, but not in time, acr 
cording to a diftin&ion which was of ufe to 
him upon fome othei^ occafions. He difiinguifli- 
ed, too, betwixt adual and potential exiftence* 
By the firft, he fe^nas to have uoderfiood, what 
is commonly meapt, by exiftence or reality; by 
the fecond, the bare poifibility of exiftence* 
His meaning, I fay, feems to amount to this; 
though he does not explain it precifely in this 
manner. Neither the jnaterial Efience of body 
could, according to him, exift aSually without 
being determined by fome fpecific EfTence, to 
fome panicular clafs of things, nor any fpecific 
Eflence without being embodied in fome parti- 
cular portion of matter. Each of thefe two prior 
(iples, however, could exift potentially in this 
%arate ftate« That matter exifted potentially^ 
N which. 

i^4 aiStOAV O* ANClfiNT^ LOGldS 

which/ bekg endowed with a ptiticulftir forfn, 
<k)uld be Wiigfbt into adlual etiftence ; and that 
form, which, by being embodied in a particu- 
lar ponfon pf matter, could, in the fame man^ 
fier, be called forth into the clafs of complete 
tealitiediT Thie^ potential ejliftence of matter and 
Jbrm, be fanftetinies talkjt of; in expieffions 
which very n$nch refemble thofe <^ Plato, t<^ 
it^hofe notion of feparate Effence it beara a very 
great affinity^ 

* Ariftotle, who &ems in many things original^ 
and who ^deavoured ta feem to be ib m all 
things, added thre principle of ptiyati^n t« thofe 
h{ matter and- JEbrm, which he had •derived front 
tbe ancient Pythagorean fchool. When Water 
is changed into Ait, the tranfm^ation id brought 
about by th^ material principle of tbofe two ele- 
ments being deprived of the form 6f IVatei^ 
and then affuming the form of Air. Privation, 
therefore, was a third principle oppofite to form, 
which entered ifnto^ the generatito of every- Sp6 
cies, which #as always from ibme other Sp^ 
ties. It was a principle of generatioB> but not 
of compofitioB, as is obvious. 

The Stoics whdfe opinions were, ia all tke 
different parts of philofopii]^^ either the ftaat 
with, or v^ry: nearly allied to thofe of Ariilotic 
and Plato, though often, difguifed in vuy dif* 
feren^ langruge, held, that all things, even tk 
islemeats theoafelve5> were oompounded of two 


AUty Ml^TAPHYSrcS. i^* 

pi iDtiplcs, upon one of which depended all the 
aftive; and upon the other, all the paffive pow- 
ers oF thefe bodied; The latt of thefe, they calU 
cd the Matter ; the firft, the Caufe, by whichf 
they meskil^t the Very fame thing which Ariftdtl^ 
totd Plato underftood, by their fpecific Eflences. 
Mattct, according to the Stoics, could haVt no* 
exiftence fepairate from the tatifc or efficient' 
priaciplc which determined it to fotne particu- 
lar clafs of things: Neither could the efficient^ 
principlie eiift fepatately frbm the material, ' lA' 
whVch it was always ttecetfarily embodied. iTh'elr* 
dpinlonj therefore, fo fai^ coincided with that of 
the old Peripatetics. The cfl&cient principle, 
they faid, was the Deity. By which they meant,' 
that it was a detached portion of the etherfal ' 
and diviile nature^ which penetrated all things/ 
that conftituted what PWtdivould have called thtf* 
fpecific Eflence of each individual crt)jeft ; and* 
fo far their opinion coincides pretty nearly Avi^h' 
that of the- latter Platonifts, who held, that the* 
fpecific Eflences of all things werfe detached' 
portions of their created deity, the fbiil' of the 
Avorld ; and with that of fome of the Arabian 
and Scholaftic Commentators of'Atiftotle, who' 
held, that the fubflantial forms of all things de- 
fcended from thofe Divine Eflences which ani- 
mated the Cdeftial Spheres. Snfch was the doc- 
trine of the four principal Seds of the ancient 
Philofophers, concerning the fpecific EfTencel of' 
things, of the old Pythagoreans, of the Acade- 
<femical, Pcripatetici and Stoical Beds, - ' ' 

I N 2 As- 

4?$ instORY OF ANCIENT LOGlds 

As this dodrin^ of fpecific Elleaces feems n^** 
rurally euough to have arifen from that ancient' 
fyftem of Phyfica, which I have above defcribed,. 
and which is, by no means, devoid of probabi- 
lity, fo many of the dodrines of that fyftem, 
which feem to us, who have been long accuftom- 
ed to another, the moft incomprehenfible, neccf- 
farily flow from this metaphyiical notion^ Such 
are thofe of generation, corruption^ and altera- 
tion n of mixture^, qondenfation, aixd rarefadion. 
A body wa3 generated or cornipced> when i( 
changed its fpecific Eflence, and paiTed from one 
denomination to another. It was altered when 
it changed only fome of its qualities, but ilill 
retained the fame fpeeific ElTence, and the fame 
<lenomination. Thus, when a flower was wither- 
ed^ it was not corrupted ; though fome of its 
qualities were changed, it ftill retained the fpe- 
cific EflTence, and therefore juftly pailed under 
the denomination of a flower. But, when, ia 
the further progrefs of its decay, it crumbled 
into earth, it was corrupted ; it loft the fpecific 
Eflence, or fubftantial form of the flower, and 
afTumed that of the earth, and therefore juilly 
changed its denomination. 

The fpecific Effence, or tmivcrfal nature that 
was lodged in each particular clafs of bodies, 
was not itfelf the objedl of any of our fenfes, 
but could be perceived only by the underftand- 
ing. It was by the fenfible qualities, however, 
that we judged of the fpecific EflTence of each 



objed. Some of thefe feufible qualities, there- 
fore, we regarded as eiTential, or fuch as fhowed, 
by their prefence or abfence, the prefencc or ab- 
fence of that eflential form from which they ne- 
ceflarily flowed; Others were accidental, or fuch 
whofe prefi^Qce or abfence bad do fuch neceffary 
confequences. The firft of thefe two forts of 
qualities w^s palled Propertif^s ; the fecofid, Ac* 

In thp Specific Eflfence of each obje£l itfelf, 
they diftinguifhed two pans; one of which wa$ 
peculiar and charaAeriftical pf the clafs of things 
of which that particular obje£l was an iudividu* 
al, the other was commpn to it with fome other 
higher claiTes of things. Thefe twp payts were, 
to the Specific pflence, pretty much w^at the 
Matter and the Specific fiifence were tp each in- 
dividual body. The one, which was called the 
Genus, was modified ^nd determined by the 
other, which was palled the Specific pifierencet 
pretty much ia the fame manner as the univerlal 
matter contained ia each body was modified and 
determined by the Specific Eflence of that par- 
ticular clafs of bpdies. Thefe four, with the 
Specific Eff^nce or Species itfeUV made up the 
number of the Five Univerfals, fo well known 
in the fchools by the names of Genus, Species, 
Differentia, Proprium, and Accidents. 








X HE moft perfef^ imitation of an obje6i of any. 
kind mud in all cafes, it is evident, be another ^ 
obje^l of the fame kind, made as €xzQ\j as pofp 
fible after the fame model. What, for example, 
would be the mofl perfe^ imitation of the car^ 
pet ivhich nQW Ilea before me ? Another carpet, 
certainly, wrought as eza£lly a$ pofiible Mter the 
fame pattern. B^t, wha^t^vf r might be the me« 
xit or beauty of this fecond carpet, it would no|t 
be fuppofed to de^v^ any from the circumft^nce; 
of its^ having been made in imitation of the firft. 
This circumftance of its being pot an original, 
but a copy, would even be coi^fidered as fomo 
diminution of that merit ; a greater or fmaller, 
in proportion as the objed was of a nature tq 
lay claim to a greater or fmalier degree of adr 
miration. It would not much diminifli the merit 
of a common carpet, becaufe in fuch trifling ob^ 
jeds, which at beft can lay claim to lb littl^ 



beauty or merit of any kind, we do not always 
think it worth while to^^ed originality; it would 
diminiih a good deal Akt of a carpet of very ex- 
quifite workmanfliip, In obje&s of (till greater 
imponaAce^ t^ia exa£l, or, ae it would be called, 
this fervile imitation, would be confidered as the 
moft unpardonable bleipiih, To build another 
St. Peter's, or St. Paul's church, of exadly the 
fame dimenfious, proportious, and ornaments 
with the prefent buildings at Rome, or London, 
would be fuppofed to argue fuch a miferable bar- 
jennefs of genius and invention as would dif- 
grace the moft ezpenfive magnificcpcCf 

'The exaft refemblance of the correfpondent 
parts of the fame obje6l is frequently confider- 
ed as a beauty, and the want of it aa a defor- 
mity; as in the correfpondent members of the 
human body, in the oppofite wings of the fame 
building, in the oppofite trees of the fame alley, 
in the correfpondent compartments of the fame 
piece of carpet- work, or of the fame flower-gtr* 
den, ia the chairs or tables which ftand in the 
correfpondent parts of the fame room, &c. fitit 
in objeAs of the fame kind, which in other re- 
fpeAs are regarded as altogether fepant^ and 
unconneded, this exa^ refemblance is feldom 
confidered as a beauty, nor the want of it as a 
deformity. A man, and in the fame manner a 
horfe, is handfome or ugly, each of them, on 
account of his own intrinfic beauty or deformi- 
ty, without any r^ard to their rcfembling or 


©F THE Ilfl'yATIVE ARTJL' rtj 

dot refembling, the one, naother man, ov 
tlie other, another' horfet A fet of €oach*» 
hotlfes, indeed, k fuppofed to be h&ndfoiner 
when tbcf are- all «xadly matched ; but each 
horle 18, in thi« cafe, confider^d not as a fepa«^ 
rated aad «nconneded objefi, or as a whole by 
hiiaCelf, but as a part of another whole, to tha 
other parts of which he ought to bear a certain^ 
correfpondence : Separated from the fet, he de- 
rives aeither beauty from bis refemblance, not 
deformity froiB his unlikenefs to the other horlfi 
n^ich com^pofe it. 

Sven in the correfpoodent parts of the fanqe 
oi>joA, we frequently require no more than a 
refend^lance in the general outline* If the in- 
ferior members of thofe correfpoadent parts are 
too minute to be feen diftinfily, without a fepa^ 
rate and diftinfi eiamitiation of each part by 
itfetf, as a foparate and unconneded objed, we 
fliould fometimes even be difpleafed if the re- 
fembUmee was carried beyond this general out<- 
line. In the correfpondent parts of a room we 
frequently hang pidures of the fame fize ; thofe 
pldures, however, refemble one another in no- 
thing but the frame, or, perhaps, in the general- 
charaSer of the fubjed : If the one is a land- 
fcape, the other is a landfcape too ; if the one 
reprefents a religious or a Bacchanalian fubjed, 
its companion reprefents another of the fame 
hind. Nobody ever thought of repeating the 
feme pi& ei|cb ^rrefp<Hadent Ihune. The 



frain9> afid the general charafler of two or three 
piAures, is as much as the eye can comprehend 
at one view> or from one ftation. Each piAure, 
in order to be feen diftinftly, and underftood 
thoroughly, muft be viewed from a particular 
ftation, and examined by itfelf as a feparate 
and uncqnnedled object la a hall or portico, 
adorned with ftatues, the nitcfaes, or perhaps 
the pedeftals^ may exa&ly refemble one another, 
but the ftatues are always di£ferent. J^ven the 
naiks which are fometimes carried upon the 
different key-ftones of the fame arcade, or of 
the correfpondent doors and windows of the 
fame front, though they may all refemble one 
another in the general outline, yet each of them 
has always its own peculiar features, and a gri* 
mace of its own. There are foroe Gothic buildy 
ings in which the correfpondent windows re^ 
femble one another only in the general outline, 
and not in the fmaller ornaments and fubdivi- 
£ons. Thefe are different in each, and the ar- 
chited had confidered them as too minute to 
be feen diftinflly, without a particular and fe* 
parate examination of each wjndow by itkVf 
as a feparate and unconne&ed objed. A variety 
of this fort, however, J think, is not agreeable. 
In objedis which are fufceptible only of a cer- 
tain inferior order of beaut)^ fuch as the frames 
of pidures, the nitchea or the pedeftals of fta* 
tues, &c. there feems frequently to be affedation 
in the ftudy of variety^ of which the merit is 
£p.arcely ever fufiicient to compenfate the want 


6F the IMTTATIVE ART& ili 

4^f that perfpicuity and diftindnefs, of that ea^* 
Jinefs to be comprehended and remembered, 
which io the natural e£fed of exa& uniformity* 
la a portico of the Corinthian or Ionic order, 
each column refembles every other, not only in 
the general outline, but in all the minuteft or-* 
naments ; though fome of them, in order to be 
feen diflinAly, may require a feparate and dif- 
tind examination in each column, and in the 
entablature of each intercolumniation. In the 
inlaid tables, which, according to the prefent 
fkOkion^ are fometimes fixed in the correfpond*. 
ent parts of the fame room, the pidures only 
are different in each. All the other more fri«. 
volous and fanciful ornaments are comq^only, 
fo far at leaft as I have obferved the fafhion, 
the fame in tbem all. Thofe ornaments, haw- 
ever, in order to be feen difl;in£lly, require 
a feparate and difiin£l examination of each 

The extraordinary tefemb^nce of two natural 
objedls, of twins, for example, is regarded as. 
a curious circmnfVance ; which, though it does 
not increafe, yet does not diminiih the beauty, 
of either, confidercd as a feparate and uncon- 
ncQed object. But the exad refemblance of 
two produftions of art, fceros to be always con- 
fidered as fome diminution of the merit of at 
leaft one of them ; as it feems to prove, that 
one of them, at leaft, is a copy either of the. 
other, or of fome other original. One may fay,. 



even of the copy of the pifturc, that it dcrKcj 
its merit, not fo much from it« refemblancc to 
the original, as from its refemblance to the ob- 
jc£k which the original was meant to refeihblc. 
The owner or the copy, fo fair ftdm* fetting any 
high value upon its refenifeTance to the driginal, 
is often anxious to ddtroy dny value or merit 
which it might derive from tHii cii'cumftance. 
He- ii often anxious to perfbsid^ both himfelf 
and other people that it is not a cdpy, but aa 
original, of which what pafles for the original is 
only a copy. But, whatever merit a- copy may 
derive frdm it^ refemblance to the original, an 
original can certainly derive none ff om the re^ 
femblance of its copy. 

But tfadugh a produ£lion of art feldom derives 
any merit from its refemblance to another objeft 
of the fame kind, it frequently derives a great 
deal from its refemblance to an objeft of a diiTe^ 
rent kind, whether that objeft be a prodaftioa 
of art or of nature. A painted cloth, the work 
of fome laborious Dutch artift, fo curioufly ihaded 
and coloured as to reprcfent the pile and foftoefs 
of a woollen one^ might derive fo(ne merit from 
its refemblance even to the forry carpet which 
now lies before me* The copy might, and pro- 
bably would, in this cafe, be of much greater 
value than the original. But if this carpet was 
reprefented as fpread, either upon a floor or 
lipon a table, and projefting from the back ground 
of the pifturej with exaft obfervation of pcrfpcc- 



tivC) and of light and fliade, the mciit of the 
Vnitttioa Would be fiill greater. 

In Painting, a jplain fiirface of one kind iM 
made to refemble, not only a plain ftirfBtce of 
another^ but all the three dimenfions of a folidf 
fabfliance. In Statuaay and Sculpture, a folid* 
fubftanc^ of one kind, is made to tefemble z 
&lid fubfiance of another. The difparity be** 
tween the objed imitating, and the objed inii«»' 
tated, is much greater in the one art than in the 
other ; and the pleafure aiifing from the imitation 
feeros. to be greater in proportion as this difparity 
is greater* 

In Paintiag, the imitation frequently pleafe^i 

though'th60ri^nalobje& be indifferent, or even 

offcnfive. In Sutuary and Sculpture it is othet^ 

wife. The imiution feldom pleafes, unlefs the 

original objed; be in a very high degree either 

great, or beautifiil, or interefting^ A butcher's 

ftall, or a kitchen^dreifer, with the obje&s which 

they commonly prefent, are not certainly the 

happieft fubje£ts, even for Paintingi They 

have^ however, been reprefented with fo much 

care .and fuccefs by fome Dutch mafters, that it 

is impofiible to view the pifturcs without fome 

degreb of pleafure* They would be moft abfvird 

fubje^ls for Statuary or Sculpture^ which are, 

however, capable of reprefenting them. Tht 

pifture of a very ugly or deformed man, fuch 

as £fop, or Scarron, might not make a difagree- 



able piece of furniUire. The fUtue certainly 
would. Even a vulgar ordinary maa or womsia, 
engaged in a ^ vulgar ordinary a£tioa» like what 
we fee with fo much, pleafure in the pi&ures of 
Rembra^ti would be too laean a fttbje& forSta- 
tuary. Jupiter*- HetcuiQ9> and Apollo^ Venus 
and Diana, the Nympha. and the Graces, Bac- 
chus, Mojrcury, Antinous and Meleager, the 
miferable death of Lai3icoo&» the melancholy fate 
of the children of Niobe, the Wreftlers, the 
fighting, the dying gladiator, the figures of gods 
and goddefles, of heroes and heroijxe$» the mod 
perfed forms of the human body, pkced either 
in the nobleft attitudes, or in the moft intereft* 
ing fituations which the human imaginati(m is 
capable of conceiving, are the proper, and 
therefore have always been the favourite fub* 
jeSs of Statuary: that art cannot, without de- 
grading itfelf, iloop to reprefent any thing. that 
is ofFenfive, or mean, oreven.indifierent* Paint- 
ing is not fodifdainfuU and, though capable ol 
reprefenting the nobleft objefls, it can, without 
forfeiting its title to pleafe, fubmit to imitate thofe 
of a much more humble nature. The merit of 
the imitation alone, and without any merit in the 
imitated obje£l> is capable offupportiag the dig* 
nity of Painting ; it cannot fupport that of Sta- 
tuary. There would feem, therefore, to be 
more merit in the one fpecies of imitation than 
in the other. - 



In Statuary, fcafcelyany drapery is agreeable. 
The beft of the ancient ftatues were either alto- 
'gether naked or almoft naked; and thofe of which 
any confidcrable part of the body' is covered, are 
reprefetitcd ais clothed in wet linen — a fpecies of 
clothing which moft certainly never was agreeable 
to the faftiion of any country. This drapery too 
is drawn fo tight, as to exprefs beneath its nar- 
row foldings the exad form and outline of any 
limb, atxd almoft of -every mufcle of the body. 
The clothing which thus approached the neareft 
to no clothing at all, had, it feems, in the judg- 
ment of the great artifts of antiquity, been that 
which was moft fuitabk to Statuary. A greats 
painter of the Roman fchool, who had formed his 
manner almoft entirely upon the ftudy of the an- 
cient ftatues, imitated at firft their drapei*y in 
his pidlures ; but he foon found that in Painting 
it had the air of meannefs and poverty, as if the 
perfons who wore it could fcarce afford clothes 
enough to cover them ; and that larger folds, and 
aloofer and more flowing drapery, were more 
fuitable to the nature of his art. In Painting, the 
invitation of To very inferior an obje£l as a fuit of 
clothes is capable of pleaiing ; and, in order to 
give this objecSl all the magnificence of which it is 
capable, it is necefTary that the folds ftiould be 
large, loofe, and flowing. It is not neceffary in 
Painting that the exafl. form and outline of every 
hoib, and almoft of every mufcle of the body, 
fliould be expreffed beneath the folds of the dra- 
pery ; it is fufiicient if thefe are fo difpofed as to 
O indicate 

igh OV f HE IMtTA^TIVt Aktt. 

indicate in general tlie fltuaflon and attitade of 
the principal limbs. Painting, by the tneic force 
and merit of its iniitation, can vcnfiire, without 
the hazard of difpleafing, tofdbftitnte, upioh ma- 
ny occafions, the inferior in the room of the fu- 
periorobjed^, by making the one, in thts'm^nner, 
'cover and entirely conceal % great part of the 
other. Statuary can feldom venture to do this, 
but with the utmoft referveand caution ; and the 
•fame drapery, vrhich is noble and magnificent in 
the one art, appears clumfy and awl Ward in the 
other. Some nioderh artifts, however, have attfcmpt- 
^edto introduce inta Statuary the drapery which is 
"peculiar to Tainting. It may not, pi^rhaps, upon 
^cvery occafion, be quite fo ridiculous as the mar- 
ble ^leriwigs in Wefffaiinfler Abbey i but, if it 
idods not always appeaT'dumfy and awkward, it 
is at beft always infipid and uninterefKng^ 

It is not the want of colouring* which hinders 
many things from pleafirig in Statuary, which 
^leaiSe in Painting ; it is the want of that degree of 
difparity between the ittiitating and the imitated 
objeft, which is neceflary, in order to render in*- 
^^refting the imitation of an objeft which is itfrff 
liot interefting. Colouring, when added to Sta- 
tuary, fo far from xncreafing, deftroysalmoft en- 
tirely the pleafdre which we recurve from the hni- 
tation ; becaufe it takes away the great fourcc of 
that JDleafure, the difparity between the imitating 
and the imitateid objeft. That one folidand co- 
loured Jibjeft ftiould" exaftly rrfcmbde antother fo- 
%^d and coloured obje£t> ^eems to be a matter of 



DO great wonder or admiration. A painted fta- 
tue, though it certainly may refemble ia humaa 
figure much more exadly than any ftatue which 
is not painted, is generally ^acknowkdged to be 
a difagreeable, aiideveaano£[enfiveobje&; and 
fo far are we from being pleafed with this fu- 
perior likenefs, that we are nev^r fatisfied with 
it ; and, after viewing it again and ^in, we air- 
ways find that it is not equal to what we are dif- 
pofed to imagine it might have been : though it 
ihould feem to want fcarce any thing but the life» 
we could not pardon it for thus wanting i what it 
is altogether impoiBble it ifhould have. The 
works of Mrs. Wright, a felf-taught artift of gr«c 
itierit, 4ire perhaps more jlerfefl in this way than 
any thing I have. ever feen. They do admirabljr 
well to be fe^n now and then as a Ihow ; but the 
beftof them we fhould find, if brought hooie.ta 
our own houfe^ and placed in a fituation where it 
was te come jafter into view, vwuld make, iofiea4 
of an ornamental, a moft oilenfive piece of houfo 
hold furniture. • Fainted ilatucis, • accordingly, ^xfi 
univerfally reprobated, and wcifcarce ever.,xnei?t 
4vith them. To colour, the eyes of ftatues is not 
idtogetberifouncomoion.: ev^this, however*, is 
diiapproved by.all good;judges* "I cannot bear 
it,'' (a'gentiomaniUfed tofay,.of^gr€;at,kaowle4gp 
and judgment in.iibisArt,) ^M caoAftt he^.itj f 
always want them to fpeak to me.'' 

*A^ificiaI fruits and flpMfers fomainKis imit^e 
^^xaAly tbcjaatural/ot^ie^s which th^y .ijcprQfejgyt, 
^at they frequently deceive us. We foon grow 

Oz weary 


weary of them, however ; iind, though they fccni 
to want nothing but the frefhnefs and the fla- 
vour of natural fruits and flowers, we cannot par- 
don them, in the fame manner, for thus wanting 
what it is altogether impoffible they fliiould havc^ 
But we do not grow weary of a good flower and 
fruit painting. We do not grow weary of the fo- 
liage of the Corinthian capital, or of the flowers 
which fometimes ornament the frize of that order. 
Such imitations, however, never deceive us; 
their refemblance to the original obje&s is always 
much inferior to that of artificial fruits and flow- 
ers. Such as it is, however, we are contented 
with it ; and, where there is fiich difparity be- 
tween the imitating and the imitated objefisi we 
£nd that it is as great as it can be, or as we ex- 
pe& that it (hould be. Paint that foliage and t)iofe 
flowers with the natural colours, and^ infteadof 
pleafing more, they will pleafe much lefs. The 
refemblance, ^however^ will be much greater; 
but the difparity between the imitating and the 
imitated objeds will be fo much lefs, that even this 
fuperior refemblance will not fatisfy us/ Where 
the difparity is very great, on the contrary, we 
are often contented with the moft imperfed re<> 
femblance ; with the very imperfe^ refemblance, 
for example, both as to figure and colour, of 
fruits and flowers in ihell-work« 

It may be obferved, however, that, though in 
Sculpture the imitatidn of flowers and foliage 
pleafesas^u ornament of archite^ure, as a part 



©f the drcfs which is to fet off the beauty of 9 dif- 
ferent and more important obje£l> it would not 
pleafe alone, or as a feparat^ apd unconneded 
obje£^, in the fame manner as a fruit and flower 
painting pleafes. Flowers and foliage, how ele- 
gant and beautiful foever, are not fufHciently in- 
terefting; they have not dignity enough, if I 
may fay fo, to be proper fubje&s for a piece o( 
Sculpture, which is. to pleafe ^lone, and not ^9 
the prn^iQental appendage of fome other object* 

In Tapeftry and Needle-work, in the fame 
manner as in Painting, a plain furface is fome*' 
times made to reprefent all the three dimeniions 
of a folid fubftancc, Byt both the fhuttle of th^ 
weaver, and the needle of the ^i^broiderer, are . 
inftruments of imitation fo mqcl^ iqferior to the 
pencil of the painter, that we ^re not furprifed to 
find a proportioqabl^ inferiority in their produce 
tions. We have all more or lefs experience that 
th^y ufually are much inferior ; and, in appreci- 
ating a piece of Tapeftry or Needle-work, we ne* 
ver compare the imitatioi^ pf either with that of a 
good pidlure, for it never could ftand that com- 
parifon, but with that of other pieces of Tapeftry 
or Needle-work. We take into confidcration, not 
only the difparity between the imitating and the 
imitated obje£l, but the awkwardnefs of the in- 
ftruments of imitation ; and if it is as well as any 
thing, that can be ezpe£led from thefe, if it is bet- 
ter than the greater part of what actually comes 
from them, we are often not wly contented but 
highly pleafed. 

A good 

ff4 ^* THE IMltAtlVa ARTS/ 

A gobd ?lamter will often e:a€cut<jiii aftw<fays 
ii fubjie6l which ^otild employ r-hte- beft upcflry- 
i^ezvcY many years; thou^, ift proportion to 
Ais time, therefor^,- the Idtter is always much 
worfe paid than the former, yet bia work in the 
end comes commonly mnch dearfcr to market, 
'the great expence of good Tap6ftty, the circum- 
ftanc^ which confines it t6 the palaees of princes 
and great lords, gives it, in the eyes of ibe great- 
er part of people, afi air of riches and magnifi^ 
cence, which contributes ftill further to compen- 
fate the impcrfedlion of its imitaftion. In arts 
which addrefs themfelves, not lo the prudent and 
the wife, but to the rich and the great, to the 
proud and the vain, we ought not to wonder if 
the appearance of great expence, of being what 
few people can purcbafe, of being ose of the far- 
tft charafterifHcs of great fortune, ihould often 
Hand in the place of exquifite beauty, and con- 
tribute equally to recommend their productions. 
As the idea of expence feems often to embeJHft, 
fb that of cheapnefs feems as frequently to tarniih 
the luflre even of very agreeable obje6is. The 
difference between real and falfe jewels is what 
iven the experienced eye of a jeweller can fome- 
tinles with difficulty diftinguifh. Let an unknown 
lady, however, come into a public afifcmbly, 
tvith a head-drefs which appears to be very richly 
adorned with diamonds, and let a jeweller only 
whifper in our ear that they are falfe flones, not 
only the lady will immediately fink in our imagi- 
nation from the rank of a princefs to that oi a 


Off TBS, II^ATIVl^ ^RT^ ^ 

^?y. Of 4iwry WC^uw* but the^faqj^drdrcfs, froirij 
a^ obje^ of tl^ ^ipft fpleiadid ma^nx^ence/ will 
at oac^ become ?ia ioiyertiacnt pi^(:e of tj^wdrj. 
^^4 tinfel finery. 

It waa (ome years ;»go the fail^ioa to ornament 
^ garden with yew a^nd holly t^-ees, clipped iut^ 
Xh^^ artifi^cial ib^p^s of. pyramids, 904 99l^^^Q^ 
|in4 vafes,, a^d ob^liiks. It is uow the faihioj^ 
to ri4^^ tbi;s tafte aa uism^tui-i^l. The figure of 
^ pysaiiud or obe^iQc, >howevex;, is npt ^ore un- 
]iatu.ral tq a yew-tree than to. a h\f)c\^ of porphyry 
ftr ipiaxbler Whpn, the y?w-t^:ee is prefente4 to 
the eye in f l^is artificial il^pe, the gardener does 
nQt n^^^ (hi^t it Should be undf;rfiqo(l to have 
grown in tb^t IJiapp j be meansi, firft, to give i^ 
th^^ fame beauty of Tegular figure, '^yhkh ples^fes 
fo jsnuch in porphyry and marble ; ^pd, fecon4- 
ly, tp imitate i|i ^ growing tfee the orp^pients of 
thofe precipUJ^ lU^ii^rials \ he mean^ tp ipa|f:e ^ql 
ob]e£t of ope kind r^emble ^pother o.bjed of a 
very different j^ind j ^nd ta the prigip^l beauty 
of figure to join the relgtiye b^^uty of imitation : 
but thj^ difparity.betw$(pn tbe imitating and the 
iniitsited obje6l is the fqundatipn pf the beauty pf 
imitation. It is becaufe the one pbje^ do^s npt 
naturally refemble the other, that \ire are fq much 
pleafed with it, when by art it is made to do {q. 
The ftiears of the gardener^ it m^y be faid, in- 
deed, are very clumfy inftrument^ of Sculpture. 
They grc fo, ap doubt, when employf^ tQ imi- 


late the figures of men, or even of animah. 
But in the fimple and regular forms of pyramids, 
vafes, and obelifks, even the Ihears of the gar- 
dener do well enough. Some allowance too is 
naturally made for the neceffary impcrfeAion of 
the inftrument, in the fame manner as in Tapef- 
try and Needle-work. In fhort, the next time 
you have an opportunity of fortcying thofe out- 
of-faihion ornaments, endeavour only eoletyour- 
felf alone, and to reftra^n fbr a few minutes the 
foolifh. pafiion for playing the critic, and you 
will be feniible that they are not without fome de- 
gree of beauty ; that they give the air of neatnefs 
and correft culture at leaft to the whole garden ; 
and ihcy are not unlike what the ** retired leifure, 
thai" (as Milton fays) " in trim gardens takes his 
plcafure," might be amufed with. What then, 
it may be faid, has brought them into fuch oni- 
verfal difrepute among us ? In a pyramid or obe- 
lifk of marble, we know that the materials ^rc ex- 
peniive, and that the labour which wrought thera 
into that ihape muft have been ftill more fo. lo a 
pyramid or obelifk of yew, we know that the nia« 
tcrials could coft very little, and the labour fliH 
lefs. The former are ennobled by their ex- 
pence 5 the latter degraded by their cheapnefs. 
In the cabbage-garden of a tallow-chandler wc 
may fometimcs perhaps have fecn as many co- 
lumns and vafes, and other ornaments in yew, as 
there are in marble and pophyry at Verfailles : it 
is this vulgarity which has difgraced them. . The 
rich and the great, the proud and the vain, will 



not admit into their gardens an ornament which 
the meaneft of the peapl^ can have as well as they, 
The tafte for thefe ornaments came originally 
from Prance.; where, notwhhftanding that in- 
conftancy of falhion with which we fometimes re^ 
proach the natives of that country, it ftill conti- 
nues in good repute. In France, the condition 
of the inferior ranks of people isfeldom fo happy 
as it frequently is in England j and you will there 
' fcldom find even pyramids and obeliflcs of yew 
in the garden of a tallow-chandler. Such orna- 
mentsy' not having in that country been degrad- 
ed by their vulgarity, have ridt yet been exclud«^ 
cd fcom the gardens of princes and great lords. 

The works of the great mafters in Statuary and 
Paintlngi it is to be obferved, never produce 
their effe^l by deception. They never are, and 
it never is intended that they ftiould be miftaken 
for the real objtedls which they reprefent. Paint- 
ed Statuary may fometimes deceive an inattentivo 
eye: proper Statuary never does. The little 
pieces of p^rfpeftive in Painting, which it is in- 
tended ihould pldafe by deception, reprefent aU 
ways feme very iiipple, as well as infignificant 
objedl; a roll of paper, for example, orthe.fteps 
of a ftaircafe^ in the dark corner of fome paf- 
fage or gaHery. They are generally the works too 
of fome*v«ry inferior artifts, After being feea 
once, aDpd producing the little furprife which it 
is meant, they excite, together with the mirth 
which commonly accompanies it, they never 


^ Q3S THB IlfiTAT^V? ^TS^ 

tirffeme. ... 

Thie p^ap^r ple^fur? wljicfe we dmye from 
t^fe t.wo i#ij|taj^ive m^t (oi iar froi9 bei^g tbe ef- 
i4d of (J^eptio^, is s^tqgetb^ iQcompatible with 
it* That pte^furc h fipuaded siltogetkier upon oui 
wonder at feei^g au obj^A of Q^^ kiad reprefent 
fp: weU an. obj^. of * veryi diflfereat kind, and 
vpon'our admiratipfl of the art which forniounts io 
Iwippily th%t dHp^my which Nature had eftablift. 
cd between thcnii- The nobkr works of Sutuary 
and Painting appear to us a fort of wonderful 
phgenojwen*, differing in thia refpeft from the 
wonderful phaenomena of Nature, that they 
f arry, as it were, their own expUwi^n alocg 
with theoj, and d^monftrat?, even to. the eye, 
♦he. way aqd nwnner in which they are produced. 
The^yc?, ev^n of a^ nnikilful fpe^ator, immedi- 
^tdy difcerps, in f&v^ meafure, how it ia that a 
cen^n modificatiqn Qf figure 14 Statuary^ and of 
\>righter and darkey cqjours in Painting, can re- 
prcfont, with fo nmQh truth and vivacity, tbeac 
tions, pa^icin^ and behaviour of men, as well 
aa a great variety of other obje&s. The pleaiing 
wonder of ignorance i$ accompanied with the ftill 
more pleafmg fatisfa^ion of fcience. We wonder 
and are amazed at the tffp&, ; and we are pleafed 
ourfelves, and happy to find that we can com* 
prehend, in fome meafure, how that wonderful 
cfied is produced. 

A good 


A good lookiog-^af!^ teprefents the obje£ls 
ivhich are fct before it with much more truth and 
vivacity thau either Statuary or Painting. [But, 
ihough the fcience of optics may explain to the 
underftandihg, the looking-glafs itfelf does not at 
all denionftrate to the eye ho\v this effefl is 
brought about. It may excite the wondei: of ig- 
norance ; and in a clown, who had never beheld 
a lookiug-glafs before, I have feen that wonder 
rife almofi to rapture and extafyj but it cannot 
give the fiuisfaftion of fcience. In all looking- 
glalTes the e£[e5ls af e produced by the fame means, 
applied exaftly in the fame manner. In every 
different ftatueand piflure the effeds are produc- 
ed; though by fimilar, yetnotbythefamemean$j 
and thofe means too are applied in a different 
manner in c^ch. Every good ftatue and pifture is 
a freih wonder, which at the fame time carries, 
in fome meafure, its own explication along with 
it. After a little ufe and experience, all looking- 
glaffes ceafe to be wonders altogether ; and even 
the ignorant become fo familiar with them, as not 
to think that their effefts require any explication', 
A looking-glafs, befides, can reprefent only pre- 
fent objedis ; and, when the wonder is once fair- 
ly over, we choofe, in aU cafes, rather to con- 
template the fubftance than to gaze at the fhadow. 
One's own face becomes then the moft agreeable 
objeft which a looking-glafs can reprefent to us, 
and the only objeft which we do not foon grow 
weary with looking at ; it is the only prefent ob- 
]€£l of which we can fee only the Ih^dow : whe- 


ther handfome or ugly, whether old or young, 
it is the face of a friend always, of which the 
features correfpond e?a6lly with whatcTcr fenti- 
inent, emotion, or paffiou we maj^ happen at that 
inoment to feci. 

In Statuary, the means by which the wonder- 
ful effefl is brought about appear more fimple 
^nd obvious than in Painting ; where the difpa- 
rity between the imitating and the imitated ob- 
jtSt being muqh greater, the ai^t which can con- 
quer that greater difparity appears evidently, and 
jilmoft to the eye, to be founded upon a much 
deeper fcience, or upon principles much more 
abftrufe and profound. Even in the meaneft 
fubje6^5 we can often trace with pleafure the in- 
genious means by which Painting furmounts this 
difparity. But we cannot do this in Statuary, 
becaufe the difparity npt being fo great, the 
means do not appear lb ingenious. And it is 
upon this account, that in Painting we are oftcQ 
delighted with the reprefentation of many things, 
which in Statuary would appear infipid, tireforac, 
9nd not worth the looking at. 

It ought to be obferved, however, that though 
in Statuary the art of imitation appears, in ma- 
ny refpefta, inferior to what it is in Painting, \ 
yet, in a room ornamented with both ftatues and 
pidlures of qearly equal merit we fhall generally 
find that the ftatues draw off our eye from the 
pidlurcs. There is generally but one, or little 



morfe than one, point of view from which a 
pidure can be feen with advantage, and it al- 
ways prefents to the eye precifely the fame ob- 
jed. There] nre many diflFerent points of view 
from which a ftatue may be feen with equal ad- 
vantage, and from each it prefents a diiBferent 
objeft. There is more variety in the pleafure 
which, we receive from a good ftatue, than in 
that which we receive from a good pidlure ; and 
one ftatac may frequently be the fubjeft of many 
good pidlures or xirawings, all different from one 
another. The Ihadowy relief and projedling o^ 
a pi&ure, befides, is much flattened, and feems 
alraoft to vanifli away altogether, when brought 
into comparifon with* the real and folid body 
which ftands by it. How nearly foever thefe 
two arts may feem to be a-kin, they accord fo 
very ill with one another, that their different 
produftions ought, perhaps, fcarce ever to be 
feen together. 


AFT^R the pleafures which arife from th6 
gratification of the bodily appetites, there feen\ 
to be none more natural to man than Mufic and 
Dancing. In the progrefs of art aYid improve-/ 
meat they are, perhaps, the firfl and earlieft 


ioi ifflP tHE imtATiyE ARI*^- 

|ilcfifures df^his own invention; -fbrtbdrc whicli 
aYiie from the gratification bf the bodfly appc- 
tites Cannot be faid to be oF his own invention. 
Ko nation lias ^ yet been difcoverefl fo uncivilized 
as to be altogether withotit than. Itfeems eveu 
to be atnbngft the mod barbarous natioBs tbit 
the life and praClice of thecti h botH ^moft fre- 
quent and TOoft univerfal, as among the negroes 
bf Africa and the favage tribes of America. In 
civilized nations, the inferior ranks of people 
have veiry little leifare, and the fnperior ranks 
have many other amuffemelits ; neither the one 
nor the other, therefore, can fpend much of 
their time in Mafic and Dancing. Among fa- 
vage nations, the great body of the people have 
frequently great intervals oif leifure, and they have 
fcarce any other amufemcnt; they naturally, 
therefore, fpend a great part of their time in al- 
moft the only one the^ have. 

What the ancients called Rhythmus,' HvhAt we 
call Time or Meafure, is the conneding princi- 
ple of thofe two arts; Mufic confifling in a fuc- 
ceflion of a certain fort of founds, and Dancing 
in a fucceflion of a certain fort of fleps, gef- 
tures, and motions, regulated according to time 
or meafore, and thereby formed into a fort t)f 
whole or.fyftem ; which in the one art is called 
a fong or tune, and in the other a dance ; the 
time or meafure of the dance corre(ponding al- 

tV THfe IMITAtlVE ARtS. loj 

ways cxaftly with t?hat of the fong or tifne whicli 
accompanies and dirc£is it*. 

The htiman voice, ias it is always the beft, fo 
it would naturally be thfe firft and earlieft of alt 
mufical inftruments : in finging, or in the firft 
attditipts towards finging, it would naturally em- 
ploy founds as fimilar as poffible to thofe which 
it had been accuftomed to ; that is, it would em- 
ploy words of fome kind or other, pronouncing 
them only in time and meafure, and generally 
with a more melodious tone than had been ufiial 
in common converfation. I'hofe words, howe- 
ver, might not, and probably would not, for a^ 
long time have any meaning, but might refem- 
ble the fyllables which we make ufe of in Jol-fa" 
ingy or the derry-down-down of our comtno'n bal- 
lads ; and ferve only to affift the voice in form- 
ing founds proper to be modulated into melody, 
and to be lengthened or ftiortened accordin.g to 
the time and meafure of the tune. This rude 
form of vocal Mufic, as it is by far the moft 
Sirfple and obvious, fo it naturally would be the 
iirft and earlieft. 

In the fueceffion of ages it could not fail to 
occur, that in the rooni of thofe unmeaning or 
touficar words, if I may call them fo, might bte 
fubftitut€ld words which expref&d fome fenfe c5r 


* t" he Author's Obfcryatlons on the Affinity between Mu- 
fic, 'Dancilig, and Poetry, are annexed to the end of Part III. 
of this Effaj. 


meaning, and of which the pronunciation might 
coincide as exadlly with the time and meafure of 
the tune, as that of the mufical words had done 
before* Hence the ori^ of Verfe or t*octry» 
The Verfe would for a long time be rude ^nd im- 
perfefl. When the meaning words fell fliort of 
the meafure requiredj they would frequently be 
eked out with the unmeaning ones, as i^ feme- 
times done in our common ballads. When the 
public ear came to be fo refined as to reje6^, in 
jail ferious Poetry^ the unmeaning word^ altoge- 
ther, there would flill be a liberty affumed of 
altering and corrupting, upon many occalions, 
the pronunciation of the meaning ones, for the 
fake of accommodating them to the meafure. 
The fyllables which compofed them would, for 
this purpofe, fometimes be improperly length- 
ened, and fometimes improperly fhortened; and 
though no unmeaning words were made ufc of, 
yet an unmeaning fyllable would fometimes be 
ftuck to the beginning, to the end, or into the 
middle of a word* All thefe expedients we 
find frequently employed in the verfes even of 
Chaucer, the father of the Englifti Poetry. Ma- 
ny ages might pafs away before verfe was com- 
monly compofed with fuch correftnefs^ that the 
ufual and proper pronunciation of the words 
alone, and without any other artifice, fubjcflcd 
the voice to the obfcrvation of a time and mea- 
fure, of the fame kind M'ith the time and mw* 
fure of Mufic, 


OT THE IlittTATIVE AlTS. 105^ 

The Verfe would naturally cxprefs feme fenle 
which Tuited tlie grave or gay, the joyous or 
melancholy humour of the tune which it was 
fuDg to $ being as it were blended and united 
with that tund> it' would feem to give fenfe^ and -^ 
meaning vo whdt otherwife might not appear to 
have aiiy, or at kaft any which could be clearly 
aqd diftin^y underftood, without the accompa- 
Himeac of fuch aii eitplicatioii. 

A ^aAtdh)iite dattce tnhy frequently anfwef 
the^ fame putpofe, ind, by reprefenting fome 
adventure in love or war, may feem to give 
fenle and* naenning to a Mufic whith might not 
otherwife appear to have any^ It is more natu-- 
ral to mimic, by geftures and motions, the ad-> 
ventures t>f eon^mdn lif<i, than t6 ^x^refs them 
in Verfe or Pdetry^ The thought itfelf is more 
obvious, and the ezi^cution is much more eafy* 
If this mimicry Was accompanied by mufic, it* 
would of its own accOrd, and almofl: without 
any intemioii of doing fo, afccommodate, in fome 
meafure, its different fteps and movements to- 
the time and meafure of the tune; efpecially if- 
the fame peHbn both fung the tune and per- 
fMrned the mlmicty; as is faid to be frequently' 
the cafe among- the favage nations of Africa 
and America* Pantomime Dancing nlight in 
this m^net ferve to give a diftindTenfe and 
meaning to Mufic many ages before the in- 
vention^ or at leaft before the common ufe of 
Poetry. We hear little, accordingly, of the 

P Poetry 

f^ <ff TUB IMrt ATIVE ARTB. 

P^t|>7 of the &vdge nations of Afinct and 
^m^m^ but a |roat deal of tlitif fkutoimin^i 

{^<9try« h^wisvon is dipabte iif fexpreffing 
iom; thinga fully and diftm&ly^, which Danc- 
i)j|g ^ithei? cannot reprefent at all> or can r^ 
pfef^pi teit oh&UMlf aAd impeifodUy ; 6ith as 
the reafonings and judgin^nta . of the Qader*^ 
(landings ; the ideas> fancies, and fufpicions of 
t^^ imagiBeatioib ; th« l#ntiaiems, eait^iKiBai tod 
TffiS^ns of tkt heart. In the power of eipref- 
fiag ^ w^^mi»g with cVoaFoefa aad diftin^koo^ 
Bl«jiGin^ it i^rvMr tp Mufic^ m4 PMtrjr ta 


Qf %i^ il«e^ Sifter Artf, which ^r\ffiw\iys 
B^I^IWi ^^t always togetht^> and which at 
jtJU 9nifa go Irequeittly tog^thr^^ there are 
t5ro iiphich qao^ ^bfid aicmet and lepiaraiie frorei 
^Mij; 9^ti|r4: cpifipanioios, 4nd one which can* 
igyK. I^ d^ diiJ^^ Qbrervacia& of what the 
i^nnta ca)k4 Hh^hwie^i o£ what wet caU Timft 
i^d. llfeaittW, confiifta tjh^ eQeiK^e both of Dane- 
log and,<?!f ?0€itry. pr V#rfe j ^r tbe charadeiif* 
H^al.qiwlity which dlftingiiifh^s the foaniet from^ 
41 ot)ie^inotioA.4|ida£^W)aiy and the latter &om 
ayyii other di&Q)^fe« J^t, eomemAng the pro- 
jlon^iofl betw^fEltt ^c^e iotei^aU an4 ^inSoxis^^^ 
dRratiQ9 wjl»li&l^ cgnititKvte wHab v$ Mlltti: ti^o 
4^ ines^iw^i the w,. it w<»ujd feem, eaaju^g^ 
lejfih QiUQJl) iRflxe^ fl^ci&oiii thtei the. fijc ; aad 



Poetry, in the ferae manner as Mtiflc, addrefles 
hfcif to the ear, whereas Dancinfe addrefies iU 
kK ta the r^e. Zn Dtntin^, the rhythmus^ 
the prosper proponioo, thfe tioie itod m^fnre 
of its motions, cannot diftinfiily be perceivcdi 
unlefs thejr are marked by the more diftin^ 
thtte and meafote dP Mufie. It is otherwife in 
Poeitf ; no abcompaniment is neceflkry to miik 
the medfare of good Verfe. Mdfic and Poe- 
try, therefore, can feach of themfabfift alone; 
Dancing always itquh^ the accothpwiment of 

It is Inftrunremal Mufic which can beft furbfift 
apart, aiad ftp^nrate RcfA bdth Poietry and Danc- 
ing. Vobai Mafic, tir6tigh"it may, and fre- 
quently dbesi coniift 6f notes which Inlve no 
diftinA fenfe or mbanttq^^ yet nituriliy calls for 
thte foppKyrt of Poietry, Btrt " Mnfic^ nncrricd 
to imMonal Verie,^' ti i/Liltoh fays, or even to 
wordtt of any kind Whith h^t^i i diftind^ fenfe or 
me^nitif , is A^trelfarily aVid eilbntiallly imitariVe* 
WhatfeVAr he tht m^eaning dl thofe wordi, 
tl^ough, like M^dy of thb fongs 6f ancient 
Grc6c4, a* well a* fome of thofe of more mo- 
dern tiinei, thfey may eafprefs merely fo'me max- 
hn^ 6f pruildnce ind teojrality, of may contain 
it^eXy thd fiihpltf narrAtiye of ftithe important 
trirxu y£t eVen in foch didadic «nd hiftorical 
fOQgs thiti will ftitl be hnttation $ there will ftill 
be t thing of one kind, which hf art is maiie 
t5 refembte a thin|; of a rery different kind; 
P z there 


there will ftill be Mufic imiuting difcourfe^ 
there will fttll be rhythums and melody, ihaped 
and faihioned into the form either of a good 
moral counfel^ or of an amufing and intertftiag 

In this firft fpicies of imitation, which being 
efiential tdi is therefore infeparable from, all 
fuch Vocal Mafic, there nu^, and there com* 
monly is, added a fecond. The words may, 
and commonly do, exprefs the fituation of fome 
particular peffon, and all the fentimeots and 
paifions ifi^hich hd ifeels from that fittiation. It 
is a jdyoiis coAipanioil Who gives vent to the 
gaiety and mirth with tvhich wine, feftivtty, and 
good company inffrire him. It is a lover who 
complains, or hopes, or fears, or defpairs^ It 
is a generous man who e3epre0es either bis gra- 
titude for the favours, or his indignation at the 
injuries, which may have been done to him. 
It is a warrior who prepares bimfelf to confroat 
danger, and who provokes or defies his enemy- 
It is a perfon in profperity who hmnbly returas 
thanks for the goodnefsy or one in affli&ion who 
with contrition implores the mercy and forgivt- 
nefs, of that invifible Power to whom be looks 
up as the DireSor of all the events of human 
life. ;;'pie fituation may comprehend not only 
one, but two, three, or more perfons} it may 
excite in them all either fimilar or oppofite fenti- 
ments ; what is a fubje6l of forrow to one, being 
an occafion of joy and triumph to another; and 



tlxejr may all exprefs, fometimcs feparately and 
fometimes together, the particular way in which 
each of them is affe^ed, as ia a duo, trio, or 
a chorus. 

All this it may, and it frequently has been 
Add is unnatural ; nothing being more fo, than 
to fing when we are anxioas to perfuade, or in 
earneft to exprefs any very ferious purpofe. But 
it fhould be remembered, that to make a thing 
of one kind refemble another thing of a very 
different kind, is the very oircumftance which, 
in all the Imitative Arts, conftitutes the merits 
of imitation ; and that to fhape, and as it were 
to bend, the meafure and the melody of Mufic> 
fo as to imitatp the tone and the language of 
counfel and converfation, the accent and the 
ftyle of emotion and paffion, is to make a thing 
of one kind refemble another thin^ of a very 
different kind, 

The tone and the movements of Mufic, tho' 
naturally very different from thofe of converfa- 
tion and paffion, may, however, be fo managed 
as to feem to refemble them* On account of the 
great difparity between the imitating and the 
imitated obje^, the mind in this, as in the other 
cafes, cannot only be contented, but delighted, 
and even charmed and tranfported, with fuch 
an imperfeA refemblance as can be had. Such 
imitative Mufic, therefore, when lung to words 
which explain and determine its meaning, may 


2I.Q Of. Tfm II^A^ETVF A9^^ 

tioa. It i^ upon this, accounjt, thsfi $vi^ tbe 
iftpomplete Mufic of a recitative fcems Vf ex- 
prefs fometimes all the fedatenefs and i^qi- 
pofure of ferious but calm difcourfe, and 
fQjcnetime^ all the exqu^^ fipniibiUty of the 
moft iQtereft^lg ps(|[io.n. The more coi9plete 
l^ijic q£ an air is flill fupedor, sfndi, iq th/p 
imitation of thf. more aiuj|pated p^gfls, ha^ 
011^ great ^^v^tagf <^ver every fost o| dif- 
courfe, whether Pxpfis or Poptry, yiH^ik w 
not fung to Muiic« In a perfoi^ whq bk ei- 
ther iniuc:h deprelled by grief or enlive&eiJ by 
joy, who, i^ ftropgly affe^a^d cithei; wkt\ Ipve 
or hatred^ with gratui^ qx^ relcntiiient^ vith 
^djmiration or coatempt, there is ^pj^mfifiisi 
o^e thought (^ idea yirh^cl^ 4w^li§ ^PP)? ^ 
i^nd, which contiau4,lly haunt$ Ifisfx, whichs 
when he has otj^ced iv away, imn^di^^ it- 
ttirns upon him, and which in cqmps^y v^t^ 
him abfent and inattentive. He cajn think but 
of one object a^d hf^ Q^ginp^ repeat to them 
that objed ip frequently as it r^ura VP9n ^fxu^ 
He takes r^fu^ in ilpliiJ^de, where he caa 
with fceedpm either ind.¥lg(9 tl^n^. ext^y gr give 
way to the agony of the agreeajb)^ ok 4ii^ 
gr^eable pafiipn which agitates him f ^<i wiiere 
he can repeat tp himfelf, w^ich he. do^a fo??^ 
times mentally, a^nd fometimes even aloud^ 9pd 
^moft always in th^ fanie words, the paiticu- 
Ur thought which eithfp: delights or diflcefles 
luf^. Neither Prole nor Pqe^ry cai^ v^ntfireto 


Imkate tbfifp atooft endle& rdpmitRms of paffiost 

T^y may defcribe them aa | d# qow> but thcjf 

date iftot ifbnatfelheBi ; tkfiy woitld-bpcoipe mo^ 

iafufierably tii^eTQlpe if they 4k}| Tjb? Mufic of 

a p^oiuitffjiiK lidvcfply caay, but frequently docs, 

imitate tfaei^.l aad h i]ieT<r maies iu way fo di*f 

}cc£Uy atio Irr^gftibly to the b^n as when it doea 

jbt. |t is^if{y>ft t)m kqtoxmi that tbe words of aa 

air^ ^jieciall)^ cf , a paflloiu^ CHpfe, theugJi the]i 

lurc SffbdQtfi yefy long, y^t ase- fc^jDe e^er faag 

ftraigl|t oaJUa thp (tnd,. like th^e i^ » reciutive ; 

bM ar^ abaof^ a^t^#y9 l^pkea into ppr ta, whiab 

ktt trafif|to&d alid, rdp4^|il04 agaiii apd aigai^ ao* 

fiordki^ M tbe £|ooy or jjtidgfti^ti^ of the ({fihoipofi 

tr. It i»by iDee99ef fucdiMpetitionft wMy^ thai 

Mufic can pxcn thofe i^rc^iM powcirs 0f\mitf^f 

tioo wkieh difiiogiiifli ;t^ ilfid ia wblp^it ^iccela 

all tit? other i(piiiatiye An», Foeti^ fuad £lo« 

que&co^ k lufi atcof diogly \^6ea d&fb obfervpdi 

produce thpir effc& alwi^tf by a ^oniie^if^d varieqf 

and fucceflioii of ^ffevcpi tboughte^ aod ideas ; 

but Mu^e ixteq^entiy preduOaa ka ^^EeAa by ^ jt* 

petition oftdiitfaio^ idfa; asid tbefamp fepfip elc* 

piieflisd' in the fi^n^,. dr nearly t^ faaie> ccfBal^ 

nation of foaadii though at firft' perhaps it' paf 

aiake fcaive ^tiy iffiprefiifrti «peA uai yf t, by beioff 

repeated agsdb atid' again, it coifies fit lafi gr(idilb 

ftUy, and by littld aiid Yipihfi. to ihov^ tp agkcM^ 

and to ttanfpoDt U6, 

To thefe po^ivfein of imitaiiogv Mufic naftArall)^ 
or rather a«D8ip[^]^ joina tl^e ham^ft- tfhoieeia 


the objeds of ks unkation. The fentimeols and 
paffions vfiAch Mu^c can beft imitate ^re thofe 
whkh unite 'and bind men together in feciety; 
the facial, the decent, the virtnous,, the inte- 
refting and affeding, the amiable and agreeable^ 
the awful and refpe6lable, the noble, elevating, 
and commanding paifion^. Crief and diftreflase 
interefiing and afie^ing ; humanity and compaf-* 
fion, joy and adnriration, are amiable and agree* 
able ; devotion is awful and refp<&abk ; the ge« 
iierous contempt of danger, the bottourablc in* 
dignation at injuftice, are noble, elevating, aad 
commanding. But it k thefe and fuch Hke pafli- 
ons which Mufic is fitteft for imitatisg, and which 
it in h6t moft frequently imnates. They are,* if 
I may fay fo, all Mufical Pafiions } their natural 
tones are all clear, <tiftind, and aloioft xnelodi* 
0us; and they naturally exprels themfelvesina 
lasgoage which is diftinguifiied by paufes at regu- 
br, and almofi equal, intervals; and which, up* 
t)n that account, can mere eafily be adapted to 
the regular returns of the correfpoodent periods 
of a tune. The paffi<ms, on the contrary, which 
dtive men from one another, the unfocial, the 
bateful, the indecent, the vicious paffions, can* 
"net eafity be imitated by Mqfic. The voice of 
furious anger, for example, is harfh and diifeo^ 
dant ; its periods are all irregular, fometimes ve- 
ry long and fometimes very Ihort, and diflin- 
guiihed by no regular paufes. The obfcure and « 
almoft inarticulate grumUings of black malice and 
envy, the fcreaming outcciea of dafiardly f<s<''' I 
- % the 


tbe hidefOiis growKngs of brutal and implacable 
revenge, are all equally difcordant. It is with 
difficulty that Mufic can imitate any of thofe paf-^ 
£ons, and the Mufic which does imitate them ia 
not the moft agreeable. A whole entertainraent 
may c<Mifift, without any impropriety, of the 
imitation of the focial and amiable pafiions. It 
Vould be a ftrange entertainment which confifled 
altogether in the imitation of the odious and vki- 
ous. A iingle fong exprefies almoft always fome 
ibciaU agreeable, or inierefting paffion. In an 
opera the unibcial and difagreeable are fometimea 
introduced, but it is 7if^ely, and as difcords are 
introduced into harmony, to fet off by their con- 
trail the fuperipr beauty of the oppofite paffiona^ 
What Plato faid of Virtue, that it was of all beau- , 
ties the brighteft, may with fome fort of truth be 
faid of the proper and natural objefis of mufical 
imitation* They are either the fentiments and 
pafiions, in the exercife of which confift both 
the glory and the happinefe of human Kfb, or they 
are thoife from which it derives its moft delicious 
pleafures, and moft enlivening joys ; or, at the 
worft and the loweft, they are thofi^ by which it 
calls upon our indulgence and compaflxonate afli& 
tanc^ to its unavoidable weaknefle^, its diftrefles^ 
and its misfortunes. 

To the merit of its imitation and to that of its 
happy choice in the obje£ls which it imitates, the 
great merits of Statuary and Painting, Mufic 
joins another peculiar and ezquifite merit of its 


pwn* Sutuary and Pamti&g caoaot be £ud M 
fddauy jpL^w beaimos qf their awn to tl^ beamks 
of NatuTf which they imitate; they qiay ifiemr 
^ea great xLUQib^r of thqfe heamice, and grctup 
them in a mor^ agreeable OMUwer than thej^ are 
fiqoiiBQnly, pr perhaps evec^ to be found in Bat 
tore. It i^ay periup^ bf trtHr» what the anifls 
fre fp fond pf telling u«^ that no wpbmh eve? 
equalled, in all the pana^Cherbpdy, tl^b^vity 
fif (be yenw of Medici^r 9or any mvn thaft of the 
Apollo of Belvidere. "^ they mnib allQw» fUKfly, 
^h«t thece i^ na paftienlaiir bp^y in any part oi 
IbiSlJtnre of thofe two £un«UB' fiacues,, wiiieh iflpoc 
^1 Idi^ftequalled^ if not much pxceUefi^ by what 
;a tobe foond in inapy liypg febj^^ But Ife* 
&Ci^ by arcangingi ^ud aa it wer^ ; b^ndi^g to i(< 
pwntiime aind nies^ure^ whatever ^ntii^enis and 
paifion^ it eypreiTefi) not pnly aflinnU^s iksd 
fr^jup^ aa well aa. Statuary and faivtiog^ ^^ 
dlifiereot beautiea of Naause whkji k initat&Si 
but it plothpa theqi, befidfa^ with at naw and an 
exqjoifitebeaniy of i(M>wn ;, it plothea ijb(BEi ivith 
saelody and hannoayoi whieh^ lijce a trae^Mcent 
9»aDt)^» far %un eweeating; apry beauty^. Hfr^ 
<ml$^t4>:8^ve abrig)it]9i} c^oWi^ a siOK^enltneBii^ 
luftpe^ aodanKU«p9pgii^g|Wietoe;in(]iybea^ 
Xy which they infold. 

To thefe two fojrta of iotitatiMi^rtrtoitbat gene* 
m) one> l^ whiQfa> Mjufiie le madb to vefemble di£- 
pourfe, and^tpthat paiaietihr oae^ by wbitkitis 
wadie tQiesq^c^^, fontiaieiifeA aodr fiBotingi ««ci^ 

' which 

yg^f^ 9 pamcuiaf: fnu^tion wfpirc^ 9 panicuUr 

pcrfoipi,T-rtl»rf i$ f^^q^qit^y jqined a third. Tbft 
pfrfoQ w^ai}0g9m;i}f JQia tQ this d;Q^!?le ^nji^^iioi]^ 
of iljc ijinger tlje ?i,d4ilti9Wl wit^i<» Q? the aftox ; 
^fl exjirefs, n^t oply by tijp ^nodtfjatig^ij^ apd w- 
d^nqe of Ws vpic^, ^\il by |lw cwnt?majicf> bjR 
bi3 attitude;?! by }fk jeftures, and by his pioti- 
o]^, th^ feQtiq[|^nt;9 ajQjdl feelui^a 0^ \\j^^ jpi^rfoiv 
Tvbpfe fiitii^tiQ^ i« paJLW*d in tbc. fosif . Evea iu^ 
priyg^e oowypjiay, th^gh ^Ibog pwy fonietiow^l 
perhaipa be ^ ip. b?; wc]* fang, it oa^n tiexex b« 
faid tp h?. wU it^fffim^d,, u»lefil thp l^gcr docj^ 
fomethipg of tbia kv;id ; af^l there iii uo capxfi^n^^ 
fpn betw€?e^ tbe efp^ pf what i$ %ig wldjy firom 
amniic-bpal^ ^ t^ ei^d o£ a harpiiphord, ^ixyi of 
vrbf^t 1$. not pslg^ (o^g^ b\i;^a^d with proper free- 
dpm» animaidpn, W b(ddnief«i An. opera a£bor 
does no mp^ tbgn (his ; apd an irnitatipA which 
is fp pleal^g^ ao)d which, appear^ even fp iiatu^aU 
in p4vatA ^iety^ pnght n^ot to appear fpr^edi^ 
ijlin^ur^U w, dUa^cee^VJQ viffni^ the Aage. 

Iiaagopd ^pejra. sidoji^ qp| only the tnodula- 
tians andpanfes pf his voice, \m every motion 
^d gel|^r^ every vAriat^OA^ eithe];,ija the air of 
his bead, or in the attitude pf hi^ body, corre-^ 
fpond to the. time apd meafair^, p£ the; Mnfic : 
they correfpoAd to the expreflioa of the feati-i 
ment or paffion which the Mufic imitates, and 
that e^cprdfion i^ceir^rily correfponds to, diia 
time and me^ifare. Mu£c ia as it were the foul; 
whif^fa aniDt9tc&^ biQ^, whi^h informs every feai- 



ture of his countena^cc, and even direAs every 
movement of his eyes. Like the mufical ex- 
prefiion of a fong, his a£lion adds to the natural 
grace of the fentiment or adion which it imi- 
tates, a new and peculiar grace of its own ; the 
exquifite and engaging grace of thofe geflures 
and mbtions, of thofe airs and attitudes which 
zTp direded by the movement, by the time and 
meafure of Mufic; this grace heightens and en- 
livens that ^xpreflion. Nothing can be more 
deeply affcf^ing than the interefting fcenes of the 
ferious opera, when to good "Poetry and good 
Mufic, to the Poetry of Metaftafio and the Mu- 
£c of Pergolcfi> is added the execution of a 
good adlor. In the ferious opera, indeed, the 
a6lion is too often facrificed to the Mufic ; the 
caftrati, who perform the principal parts, being 
always the mod infipid and miferable aAors. 
The fprightly airs of the comic opera are, in the 
fame manner, }n the higheft degree enliveabg 
and diverting, Though they do not make us 
laugh fo loud as we fometimes do at the fcenes 
of the common comedy, they make us fmile 
more frequently ; and the agreeable gaiety, the 
temperate joy, if I may call it fo, with which 
they infpire u«,^4l P^^ ^^^J *° elegant, but a 
moft delicious pleafurc. The deep diftrefs and 
the great paffions of tragedy are capable of pro- 
ducing fome effed, though it fhould be but in- 
differently a£ted. It is not fo with the lighter 
misfortunes and lefs affe£ling fituatipns of come- 
dy : unlefs it is at leaft tolerably aded, it is al- 


together infupportable. But the cafirati are 
Tcarce ever tolenable a&ors ; they are according- 
ly feldom adinittied to play in the comic opera; 
which) being upon that account commonly bet- 
ter performed, the ferious appears to many peo« 
pie the better entertaininent of the two* 

The imitative powers of Inftrumental are much 
inferior to thofe of Vocal Mufic; its melodious 
but unmeaning and inarticulated founds cannot^ 
like the articulations of the human voice, relate 
diftin&ly the circumftances of any particular 
ftory, or defcribe the different fituaiions which 
ihofe circumftances produced; or even ezprefs 
clearly, and fo as to be underftood by every 
hearer, the various ientiments and paflions which 
the parties concerned felt from thefe fituaiions : 
even its imitation of other founds, the objeds 
which it can certainly beft imitate, is common- 
ly fo indiflind, that alone, and without any ex- 
plication, it might not readily fuggeft to us what 
Was the imitated object. The rocking of a cra- 
dle is fuppofed to be imitated in that concerto 
of Corelli, which is faid to have been compof- 
ed for the Nativity: but, unlefs we were told 
beforehand, it might not readily occur to us 
what it meant to imitate, or whether it meant 
to imitate any thing at. all; and this imitation 
(which, though perhaps as fuccefsful as any 
other, is by no means the diftinguifhed beauty 
of that admired compofition) might only ap- 
pear to us a fingular and odd paftage in Mufic. 



The irmg^ df bells and tUs &iip6^ oFtkt laric 
uuf nigfacliigade atic iniitatiKl m f te fysiphony of 
Ittfinsmentii Mtific whicb Mh Hantid has cbm- 
fioitd for the Allegro and Penferofo of Milton : 
thtfe are not dnljr founds but mufical founds^ 
and may therefore be {jijfftikd to be inbre whh- 
in the compafs of the power$ of miifical imita- 
tion; It is aebordiagbf nmTer&Hy acknowledg- 
ed, tfait in thefe imitattioni^ this grdat mafter has 
b^^n remarkably fuccefsful ; and yet, uniefs the 
Tei'fes of Mikon explained the meaning of the 
Mufic, it nmht not e^nen in this cafi^ readil)r oc- 
cur to us wLat it meant to imitate, or whether 
it meant to imitate any thing at alL With the 
explication of the Words, indeed, the imitatioa 
appears, what it cert»nly is, a very £ne one ; 
but Without that explicatioik it might perhaps ap- 
pear only a fingular paiSage, which had lefs con- 
nexion either with what Went before or with 
what came after it, than a&y other in the Mafic. 

inftmmemal Mufie is faid fometimes to imi- 
Ute motion ; but in reality it only either imitates 
the particular founds which accompany certain 
inotioDS, or it produces founds of which the 
time atid meafurc bear fome correfpondence to 
the variations, to the paufes and interruption^, 
to the fucceffive accekrations and retardations of 
the motion which it means to imitate : it is in 
this Way that it fometimes attempts to ezprds the 
march and array of an army, the confufion snd 
hurry of a battle, &c. In all thefe cafe^, how- 


eVe^, Us ioiitatkm is fo very indiftind^ that vfitk^ 
but the acbompaaimtot of fome other art^ to ex- 
plain and interpret its meaning, it would be al- 
moft always uaintelfigible ; and we could fearce 
ever know with certainty> either what it meant 
to inoiuitq^ ar whether it meant to imitate anjT 
thing At all. 

In the imitltivd arts, though it is by no means 
necefiary that the imitating (hould fo exactly re- 
femkle the ioiitated objed, that the one fhould 
fometimes be miftaken for the other, it is, how- 
ever, neceflary that they fhould refemble at leaft. 
fo hty that the one fhould always readily fuggeft 
1^ other. It would be a ftrange pidure which 
te^ired an infcription at the foot to tell us, not 
only what particular perfon it meant to repre- 
fern, bilt wbethei? it meant to reprefent a man 
or a horfe, or whether it meant to be a pic^ 
ture at all, and to reprefent any thing. The 
imitations of inftrimiental Mufic may, in fome 
xef^efls, be £ud to f efembk fucb pi&ures. There 
i^ however, this very ef&ntial difference be- 
tween them^ that the pidure would not be much 
mended) by the infcription; whereas, by what 
may be coniider^d as very Httle more than fuch 
an infcription, inflrumental Mufic^ though it 
cannot always even then, perhaps^ be faid pro- 
perly to imitate, may, however, produce all the 
effe&s of the fineft and moft per&A imitation* 
la order to explain in what manner this is brought 



about, it will not be neceflary to defcend imd 
aay great depth of philofophical fpeculatioo. 

That train of thoughts and idea^ which is con- 
tinually palling through the mind does not al^ 
ways move on with the fame pace, if I may fay 
fo, or with the fame order and eonnedion. 
When we are gay and cheerful, its motion is 
brilkcr and more lively, our thoughts fuccticd 
one another more rapidly, and thofe which im- 
mediately follow one another feem frequently 
either to have but little connexion, or to be 
conne6led rather by their oppofition than by 
their mutual refemblance. As in this wanton 
and playful difpofition of mind we hate to dwell 
long upon the fame thoughti fo we do not much 
care to purfue refembling thdughts ; 4nd the va- 
riety of contraft is more agreeable to us than the 
famenefs of refemblance/ It i^ quite othcrwife 
when we are melancholy and defponding; we 
then frequently find ourfelves haunted, as it 
were, by fome thought which we would gladly 
ichafe away, but which conflantly purfues usi 
and which admits no followers, attendants, or 
companions, but fuch as are of its own kindred 
and complexion. A flow fucceffion of refem- 
bling or clofely conneAed thoughts is the cha* 
rafleriflic of tins difpofition of mind ; a quick 
fucceffion of thoughts, frequently contrafled and 
in general very fligbtly connected, is the charac- 
teriftic of the other. What may be called the 
natural flate of the mind, the Aate in which we 



are neither elated nor dejedted, the ftate of fe- 
dateoefs, tranquillity, and comppfure, holds a 
fort of middle place between thofc two oppofite 
extremes^ our thoughts fucceed one another 
more flowly, and with a more diilinA connec* 
tioQ than in the one ; more quickly, and with a 
greater variety, than in the other. 

Acute founds are naturally gay, fprightly, 
and - enlivening ; grave founds folemn, awfuU 
and melancholy. There feems too to be fome 
natural coi^neftion between acutenefs in tune 
and quicknefs in time or fucceflion, as; well as 
between gravity and flownefs : an acute found 
fcems to fly off more quickly than a grave one : 
the treble is more cheerful than the bafs; its, 
notes likewife comnionly fucceed one ano^ 
ther more^ rapidly. But inflrumental Mu- 
£c, by a proper arrangement, by a quicker or 
flower fucceflion of acute and grave, of re- 
fembling and contrafted founds, can not only 
accommodate itfelf to the gay, the fedate, or 
the melancholy mood; but if the mind is fo 
far vacant as not to be difturbed by any dif- 
ordcrly paflion, it can, at lead for the moment, 
and to a certain degree, produce every pofli- 
ble modification of each of thofe moods or dif- 
pofitions. We all readily diftinguifh the cheer- 
ful, the gay, and the fprightly Mufic, from 
the melancholy, the plaintive, and the afiedt- 
ing ; and both thefe from what holds a fort of 
middle place between them, the fcdate, the tran- 

^ quil. 

M# «r TUt iMiTATlVte AKfi. 

qoil, 9m4 the compofiag^ And we nretSi fen^ 
fit)lc tbat, IB Ae natural end ordinary ftate o^ 
tile i«i«id, Mafic can^ hj a fort c^ kicantatton, 
feoth and charai us into fbme degree of that 
}>ai«k«}ar iMod or dHpofitioa which accords 
arkh ks ewn charaAcr and temper^ In a con** 
tett df inftruraemat Mufii^ the attention is cn« 
gaged, with pleafure and delight, to fiften xq 
a eoteloHairioB of the moft agreeable and nielo* 
dicNid fottiida, which fellow one another, fome* 
liudea with a quicker, and fonietime^ with a 
flower lucceflion ; and in which thde that im- 
siediatetjr follow one another fometimes ezadly 
or aeailf refeiable, and fometimes contrail with 
one another 4n tunje, in time, and in otdc r of 
arrangements The mind beiug thua fuceefl^Ttly 
occupied by a train of objeAs, of whith the 
nature, fucceffiou, ^nd cpn'ueAion correfpond; 
femetimea to the gaj^ fometimes to the tran* 
quil, and fometimes to the melancholy mood 
or difpofition, it is itfdf fucceffively led into 
each of thofe moods or difpofitions ; and is thus 
brought into a fort of harmony or concord with 
die Mnfie which fo agreeably engages its atten- 

It is not, however, by imitation properly, 
that inftrumemal Mufic produces this effed: 
inftrumental Mufie does not imitate, as Tocal 
Mufic, as Painting, or as Dancing would imi- 
tate, a gay, a fedate, or a melancholy perfoa ; 
h does not tell us, as any of thofe other xrti 

1» f»t l)ltttA¥tVft AM% MH 

ttontd ttiL trt, k pMilMt, a if<flrtotM» or aHMkft- 

l^ahitktg, di*!]! ElldifiAj^, byfymlHithy withiilit 
Satet](^» tlie r^diitetien^ of tli^ mtfltikeholy aad 
liifbd^ tfl kmt otlicV )[^erfim^ tliat inftMnHEHorOi 
Mafic fbothes ub iato^each of thefe difpofidoiis c 
it hecptacs itfelf a gay, a Jedate, or a melan* 
tkcAy dbjeSti tad the laimd iMltckMl^ shuttles 
thti mood t>r dii|>d3tbh tdbicH -at l%e tkn^ ^Mr^ 
re(];H>iidk to tlie ot]jefft wktk ^BgAgii^ iu^ at^ 
te&tioii. Wfeat^vtr we feef fhmt iiiJft^ttdietRtt 
Mulk is Ah tfti^imA, '«ad tfot a ffmpi^hdda 
feeiing\ It h (Air xy#n! gaiety; ftdateftert^ w 
melaacbdly ^ ]i<A tltt teflefi!ed difp^tkA of ana^ 
fbeif |)Ctfoii^ 

bppil^ fittiated and iivi^fi laid ottt gardte^ wtf 
^ {^relented w$th a liicceffioii oi hn^fqifpt^, 
wMck ire ^foxmthnes gay> fooMtunes gloomyv 
«&d faci^etlnies ctlbr atui fi^rtHe; if thie ttittf 
is ia hs natural ftatr, h iuits icfelf to the pb- 
feists ^hieh facceffively prefettt tfaemfalire^ afect 
rmi^i in fome degree its HKKxi a&d pfefent itu^ 
mour mth ev^ Variittiott of the fcttse. It 
ttrotild be improper^ howtsrct, to ivf that tteftf 
fcenes imitaced the g)ty« tke'eidtt^ or the ns 
latfdioly tnpod of the miod ; tbey iM^ pvo^ 
^ttce iir their tttnt each of tlioie moods but 
Atey cantidt imitate any of them. InfltMxAts^ 
tal Mafic^ in the fame maimer^ thotrgh it eanL 
^dte all ibofe different' ^iipofidons, eaqaot 
Q^ imitate 

tH OfXf}^ imThTVm ARTS. 

imUjiKf ^«y pf .tlMtti^ Tfecpe are no two 
ixx fi&»Pt m^e ppr£c&\y difpa^te ^aa fouod 
j^fidf ft^t^Qipiitj;. awi itjT^ impoffibj^ by any 
t^mna^-ii^e]:,: to famioa thc:,<Mic .into .any 
Ihmgriibilir^fl^rs j^ xeal T^feoibUnqc to the 

<- xXilm p4tvfi;:p£ cai^tiug.aod vailing .tnc. dif- 
fer^ t 0ood^ ^a^d jdifpofittoni :pf. ^thp niind> 
ivbiQb;iQftffHtte,P^l.^^4?- r^^lly. po^ a 
tcTj^ cQBfid^r9jl^'€^gfe^«.fia8.^ pr^^^^^i' 

palri(4v^oe*o£ U$ ^jpiatatioa ibr tbofe great 
iioit^iyc jjgypier^.Mixich been afcribed to 

krf:;g**Pai0tipg,V jfayj^ attjAatj^br, more capable 
of feeling flrougly than of analifing accurately, 
M. koufleau of Geneva^ " Painting, ^hich 
': P4r(f<{9t^ .4^:inuta?ion8, fiat to the iinagioati^n, 
*^J^ut<ui-4^ (!&nfca> and . tp only one 6f the 
. V kpi^9 .aarepjcefent. nothing beiides the 6b* 
*^ jefdlf of ii^U.- Mufic, ^.qne might imagine, 
J. ibouldrbe. equally. q^nBocdaa thofe of hearing. 
*^It Imkates, however, every thing, even thofc 
? objefls ivh^cb arc perccivaWc by fight .only. 
''.JBy a deiufio^ that feeQ>f ajimofl inconceivable, 

Y it can,; :^8^ k werj, pm.tjhe^eyei into the car; 

V mid the, g^ea^ wonder/ of aa art which aSs 
'<^'. Qply. b]^. motion and fuccefl^on, { is» that it can 
^'imitft^ reft, and repofe. Night, Sleeps Soli^ 
V,t]:ide^..aa4. Sjleoce are al| within the compafi 
'^of mnfical imhadon. Though all Nature 
'^ ibould be afleep, the perfoa who contem* 
*'. plates it IB awak^} and the art of the mu- 

*^ fician 


<^ fidan confiftt in fubftitutingi in the rooqii%tif 
*^ an image of -whftt isnotrtfae-cd^joft of heuriiq;^ 
**ihat of the mo^emcnu whiclj'ii* prefeuc* 
** would excite in the miod of thc'fpeAatoaf.^-iA 
That is, of the efie^s whith it >w<nikl' produce 
upon his fnood'^dd dtfpofition( /^^ The m^ficiaij 
^ (cQiitinuef the fume Author) will fometinies, 
** not only agitate the waves of the fea^^ blow up 
^' the flames of a fonflagratioti, make the rain 
***i^H^the ri^em flow and fwdll" the tQn?ems» 
*' but he 'will paint the horrors of 41 hideous ^Cr 
*' fan, darken the >al^ oif a fubtertatneous dan^ 
** geon, calm the ten^ft, rpftore ferenity aad 
** tranquillity to the air and thefky^ irnd (bed 
^ from the orcheftra a new freflincfs over the 
** groves md the fields, tte 'W^IliipV^^^'^^^y'** 
^ pi^fent any of thefe objeAsp l)ut fae will exdte 
^^ in the mind the faiiie movedients whickit would 
^* feel from feeing them^^^ ^ . -r :"!,y 

Upon this very eloqqem defcription of »Wfe, 
RdufTeau I nmft obferve,^ that without the acooi» 
panifqent o£ the fcenery and afiionof t^ operas 
without the affiftance either of the ibene-painter 
or of the poet/ ot of both, thevtaftvumentalMu- 
fic of the Orcheftre could produce none of the 
eflfeAs which ate hire aCcribedf to it; and we 
eould never know, we could never even guefs, 
which of the gay, melancholy; or tranquil ob* 
jeSts above mentioned it meant to repivfent to 
us; or whether it meant to reprefent any ef 
them, and not Aierely to ciitertatn' us with a 


«tC «r THE turrATCvi akts- 

Of, w the ancimtt cidkd thmi^ of t^ IKtftaU 
ttc» of the SjrfiUlw. or of thi U\dd]A Mufic. 
Whk that aecomi^iiMfiw iadoolL thw^^ H 
Monot alwajt eno. theo> fmhaps* bo faid pro- 
Iperlx to imbate, y«t by fuppojptuig tho iieitafioa 
of fonke othw art, it may produce all thfi fiime 
efie^a opoo w as if,itfe)f ha4 ualtatod in tbe 
fincft aj;i<i moft p^rfod maoiM^r^ What^vM be 
i3ie objc^ or fituattoii whkh the (cono^piiattr 
7ep?ofeot4 upon ib« iheatrox the Mififie of th^ 
orchcftfa, by difpofing the miki to the bmf bn 
of mood afid leA^r whkh tt inoiild fe«l fioia 
the prefeuee of that ol^^c^ ojf froift fjmyAthy 
«ith th( peribo who waa placod istthat$W* 
aioQ> can greatly enhance the ofTcA «f that s^ 
tatioa : k cao occonaQodaiba vtelf i(0 erf ly dk 
mrfity of fiwooc The melancholy eif the paa 
who^ tipoa fome great ^jmi^oi^ ooJIy fio4s^ Iidk 
felf alone in the darknefs^ the filcnce and folh 
Hide of the oigfal, ia ifwy dif^rot^t ffon tluu 
«f one ii^ho^ opon a like MeaikM. foda hw^ 
jUf U the midft of feme dreai^ and inhe^fta^la 
ifefert; and eten ia this fitoalioa Ua feeUog* 
mwld not be the ftme aa if hairaa flmt qp ia 
o fuhies'iaoeons dungeon^ The diSateot d^pro^i 
of preciikua vith which the Ifofic of the fi^ 
eheftra can aceommodate kfelf to each of thoif 
diverfitiea, maft dqaend eppik the taft% de 
fenfibilky^ the ^cy wad imafl^iutioii of tkr 
oompder: k may fometmieay ptihapa, cootri* 
bute to thiapnodfioii^ thaa ia IhonU faSmh m 


well as^it om, tlie foiiadft whidl eitli6r Mttiirally 

•ccompaiiy, of wldck raighfe be ftipfofed to a^^ . 

cos^uiy, tbe particular o^oGt^ rtprefekitedi 

Tbc fymphoay Ut i^e Frendi opera of AkTOUt, 

which iqutated t^ violenee of ibe imds and 

the d^ing of th^ wiive% isi tlie! tompeft ^hiok 

waa to drowo' Ceyx,* i^ tnn^oh cofUQieikded bj 

coteipporary w4te)>a. Tltat ia tbd openr pC 

10b, wbic^ imitated tliair HKirawlriiig ifi thf 

leaves of the oaks of Podoga, wJHch tflaghtr to 

foppofed tP precede the ikiiiraNNiloM ptoAwa&m^ 

lion of the oracle : Md t^at iii the d]^er» of 

Amadis^ of wbicl^ the diiQftel* aciDeilti iffutated 

the (ouada wlucb might be fuppoTed |o accoin^ 

paoy^ tke opening q£ the toinb of Ardtaq, be^ 

fore tk^ apparition pf thf; ghbft^ of tl|at vrm^ 

rior, are ftit^ more eebpbratedt lailrimieattal 

Mttfic^ l)owever» without- vio^^tiag too muel^ 

its own melpdy atid havmony^ can ktiitAe but 

imperfe^y th^ fot^nds pf aat^nd ol^e&s^ of 

which the gr^^ter part have neither m^od^ 

nor harmony. Gre^( refefv^, great difcretion, 

and a very nice difoe^^Mii^B^ ave rdquifita; ia 

order to introduce vfitHf^^ prOpridty (tidi irapeis 

fed imitatumsii either |nto Poetry or Muflc} 

when repeated too often, when' eoijtinu^ too 

long, they appear to b^ yf^9l^ they v^y mw^ 

loefie tvicfcs^ in. whieh a- verj^ inf^of alrdft^ if 

be wiU only |^vo bimfelf ^ t^uttl^ to atccud 

tQ them, caa aafily eq^aal the greateft^ I hsML 

kvn a Latiq- t^fl|titm of^ M». PopeV Ode p* 

Stt Cedfia'a* dayi iribkb- m^ tlia iti^A ^i^ 



much excelled thcn>riginal. Sucfh imitatibns are 
ftiil eafier in Mufic. Both m the one art and 
in the other, the difficulty is not ia making 
them, as well as they are capable of being made, 
but in knowing when and how far to make them 
at all : but to be able to accommodate the tem- 
per and charader of the Mufic to every pecu- 
iiarity of the fceae and fituation with fuch cxaft 
))recifioa, that the one fhall produce the very 
fame effe£^ upon the mind as the other, is not 
one of thpfe tricks in which an inferior artift 
can eafity equal the great eft ; it is an art which 
requires all the judgment, knowledge, and in- 
vention of the moft confummate mafter* It is 
upon this art, and not upoa its imperfefi imi*- 
tation> either of real or imaginary founds, that 
the great edfeds of inftrumental Mufic depend; 
fuch imitations ought perhaps to be admitted 
only fo far as^ they may fometimes contribute 
to afcertain the meaning, and thereby to enhance 
the effefis^ of this art. 

. By endeavouring to extend the. eSe^s of 
fcenery beyond what the nature of the ihing 
will admit of, it has been much abufed ; and 
in the common, as well as m the mufical' drama> 
iBany imitations have been attempted, which, 
after the firft and fecond time we have fcen 
ibem, neceffarily appear ridiculous: fuch arc, 
the Thunder rumbling from the Muftard-bowl, 
and the Snow of Paper and thick Hail of Pcafe, 
Jb finely cxpofed by Mr. Pope. Such imitations 
4 . refemblc 


refembk thofe of painted Statuary ; they may 
furprize at firft, but they difguft ever after^ 
and appear evidently fuch fioiple and ealy trick$ 
as are fit only for the amufement of chiHrea 
and their nurfes at a poppet-fliow. The thuu- 
der of either theatre ought certainly oever to. 
be louder than that which the orcheftre is ca-, 
pable of producing; and their moft dreadful 
tempcfta ought never to exceed what the fcenc 
painter is capable of repiefenting* In fuch 
imitations there may be* an art \i%ich merits 
feme degree of efteem and admiration. In 
the other there can be none^hich merits any. 

This abufe of fcenery has both fobfifted nracK 
longer, and been carried to a much greater de- 
gree of extravagance, ki the mufical than in the 
common d-rama. In France it has been long 
baniflied from the latter ; but it ftill continueSj^ 
not only to be tolerateda but to be admired 
and applauded in the former. In tTie French 
operas^ not-only thunder and lightning, ftorm's 
and tempefts, ar^ commonly reprefented in the 
ridiculous manner above mentioned; but all the 
hiarvellous, all the fupernatural of Epic Poetry, 
all the metamorphofesi of* Mythology, all the 
wonders of Witchcraft and Magic^ everything 
that is moft unfit to be reprelented vpon the 
ft age, are every day exhibited with the moft 
complete approbation and applaufe of that in- 
genious nation. The Mufic of the orcheftre 
]producing upon the aHdiciite nearly the fame 
^ .^ effea 


cffe^ vkich a betttr imd moie aitfiil imitadoi 
Vfonld produce^ binders t)ifm frooi feeUofi «t 
leafi iu. its fuU ibr«C9 the ridicule of iboif clnkU 
ifli and ^ukward upiutio^s which peceflanly 
abound in that extravagant (ceoevy* And ia 
reiUity fuch ixnitatioaa, thongh no^ doubt ridi- 
culous every where, yet certaiply appeanr ibise- 
what Ids fb in the UHifical tba& tbey would in 
the cownoz^ draoMK The Italian opera^ before 
it was reformed by Apofiolo, i^o, and Mc^ 
taftafio, waft Ia thia^ refye& equftlly estsavagaat, 
Vid waa upon thut account the ful^eft of the 
agceeable r^iUeiy of Mk« ^Abddifeii. i^ fcvenl 
different papers of the Spedator* ^ven fince 
dot refoimatiiNi it fiiU ^oniiflata to be a role;, 
that the (bene ibould dbaagi^ at leaft withcveiy 
%&,i 9nd the unity of place nevey was a aoe« 
iacred law in the roniBMii drama, than the vkk 
tation of k ha« become in the mufieals the 
Utter feema vok leality ta rehire both^ a num 
plSurefqne ai^d «. more ncaried fiptacfy, than 
U «t all nece0ary for the fidnuen la an openh 
ISi the KInfic Aipport» the efB^ of i^ icentiys 
ih' th^ icen^ry oftea lervea to detecmi>« tiia 
chaxa^er^ and to^ explain, ihe meaning of ^ 
14u&i it ought |o vary theif;^>9e aa that^ chsp 
xa&er vanes. The plenfure «£ an <^nik h^ 
0de8,. ia in its nature more % ienfmi)i pJeafoiei 
than that of a common fiomedy ois twgfd^} tin 
latter produce the» ofifeA pnncipa% b^ mcaos 
of the imagkudon ; in thf doiet^. accoidifil^ 
thfiis effea. it^ not miMh wi^o» to wtefe it^ 


upon tlic fia^, But th^ ^ffeft of an opera ia 
ftldom ve^y gveat io the clof^j it «ddrcfl?a it^ 
idf mor^ to the extepa«l fenfea» md w it foothea 
tb€ ear by iu loelody and harmony, I9 wo fed( 
fbat it ovgkt tq daz«lc the eye with t^t^ (plex^^ 
dour aiv4 variety of its fe^eryt 

la an opera the inftramenita) Mufic of the or^ 
cbeftre fupporta the iimtatioo bptU of the poel 
aod of the<|Aor. aaweU aa of the fceae-paiiue«« 
The overtttre difpofea the mind to that mood 
which 6tt i( jor the epewog of the piece. Tho 
Mttfic iH^wf^QL the a£ia iteeps up the impreffioa 
wMeh Xh/^ foregoing had made» and prepared ua 
$ws tlAt whieh the followipg ia to ma^e, When 
the orchoftre interrupts, «9^ it frequently doea> 
mther Un le^^tive or the air* it ia m order 
etthei to em^rcf the <rilR^ of ythn had gone 
before, ^ ta put the vmd ia the^ iMod which 
fita it for heanng what ia to come ai%er. fiotJh 
ia the r«eitativea md ia the aira it iiccompar 
nies und dire6^8 the votpe, and often bidugs k 
back to the proper tone «nd modulation^ when 
ii ia i^pon the point of wandering away £yom 
them i and tbe correiE^efa of the be(i vocal 
Vufic ia owing in a great meafure to the guim 
dancie of iaftrumental; ihwgjn iq ^ thele caiea 
it C^pporta the vnitation of imo^her art, yet in 
all of than it may be laid rather to dimii^fii 
thia to incMafe tho refemblance between tho 
inkating and the imitated objeA. Hothins can 
he iiKMt uAmfie tft nfemt <e«l^ p«flea in. thm 



world, than that perfons engaged in the mof^ 
intere(ling fittiaiions/ tioth t)fpublie and private 
life, in forrow, in difappointment, in diftrefs, 
in defparr, ftiould, in all that they fay and do, 
be ooriftantJy accompanied with a fine concert 
pjf inftrumcntal Mufic, Were wc to refleft 
upon it^ fuch accompaniment muft in all cafes 
diminifti the probability of the a6lion, and ren- 
der the reprefentation ftill leU like nature thau 
it oth«rwife would be. It h not by imitation, 
therefore, that inftrumental Mufic fupports and 
enforces the imitations of the other arts ; but 
it is by producing upon the mind, in confer 
quence of other powers, the fame fort of ef- 
feft which the mofl cxaA imitation of nature, 
which the nioft perfeft obfervationof probabi- 
lity, could produce. To produce this effcfl 
is, iri fuch entertainments^ the fol^ end aod 
purpofc of that imitation and obfcrvation. If 
it can be equally well produced by other means, 
this end and purpofc may be ecjually well an- 

But if inftrumental Mufic can feldom be faid to 
be properly imitative, even when it is employed 
to fupport the imitation of fome other art, it is 
commonly ftill lefs fo when it is employed alone. 
Why fliould it embarrafs its melody and harmo- 
ny, or conftrain its time and meafure, by attempt- 
ing an imitation which, without the accompaui- 
meut of fome other art to explain and interpret 
its meaning, nobody is likely to underftand ? In 

. the 

[. «fl" 


tlie. moft approved iBftrumental Mufic, iiceord-, 
iflgly, in the overtures of Handel ajad the concer- 
tos of Corelli, there is little or no^imitatioB, 
and where there is anyi it is the fource of. but a 
very frnaU part of the merit of thofe coimpcjfitlons;* 
Without-any imitation/inftruinental Mufic caa 
produce very confiderable efifefts ; tl^oujgh ita 
powers over the heatt and affeftions are, no 
doubt, ^ much inferior to thofe of vocal Mufic, it 
has, however, confiderable powers j by the^fweet^ 
Qefs of its founds it awakens agreeabl}|» knd.caUs 
upon the attention ; by their connecElion and af* 
finity it naturally detains that attention, which 
follows eafily a feries of agireeable founds, which 
have all a certain relation both to a common, fun- 
damental, or leading note, called the key note ; 
and to a certain fucceflion or combination of notes, 
called the fong or compofition. By means of thig 
relation each foregoing, found feetnsto introduce^ 
and as it were prepare the mind for the ifollowiDg: 
by its rhythmus, by its time and meafure, it difpof- 
ts that fucceflion of founds into a certain arrange* 
iiieati which renders the whole more cafy to be 
comprehended and remembered. Time and mea- 
fure are to inftrumental Mufic what order and me- 
thod are to difcourfe ; they break it into proper 
parts, and divifions, by which we arc enabled 
both to remember better what is gone before, and 
frequently to forefec fomewhat of what is to come 
after : we frequently forefee the return of a pe- 
riod which we know muil correfpond to another 

- which 

ij4 6ptk£ittitATiVXAkfft: 

ifMch wb remember v6 hi^e gone beifMe ; ixA^ 
iccof dinf to the fajdng of ta, ancient philofopjier 
iiid tnufician, the eiyoynienfc of Mn^b al-lfes 
l^artiy ttttn ttiemorjr and partly from fbtefiglit; 
When the meaTure, Afteir having been continued 
to long is to fatiiify ttd, changes to another^ thiR 
tariet)^^ whieh thus difappoints^ becomes more 
f^reeabletOM than the nnifohnitjr tirhtch would 
h&ve |ratiSed 6m etpeaation i bnt without thia 
order and method we could teitaember very Itttle 
df what had gdne before^ and we could ferefee 
ftill lefs of What was to come a^er; and the whole 
enjoyment of Mufic would be equal to little more 
than the effed of the particular founds which 
rung in our ears at a very particular inftant By 
means of this order and method it is, dliring the 
progrefs of the enteruinmentj equal to the eflfed 
of all that we remember, and of all that we fore- 
fee i and at the conclufion, to the combined and 
accumulated effeft of all the difTerent parts of 
which the whole was compofed^ 

A well*compofed concerto of inftrumentatKfu< 
iic, by the number and variety of the inftruments, 
by the variety of the parts which are performed 
by them, and the perfeA concord or correfpon- 
dence of all thefe different parts ; by the exad 
harmony or cpincidence of all the different founds 
which are heard at the fame time, and by that 
happy variety of meafure which regulates the foe- 
ccffioa of thofe which are heard at different 


©r *BflE litttAllVt Aits- tis 

Umes, t>refents in 6bjt€t to iigr«eable» fo 
great, ft vtriou8» and fo intereftmg, that aloi)^ 
and withdut fuggtfling any other objed, tither 
byimiution orotherwife, it can occupy^ and as 
h were fill tip, completely the whole capacity of 
the mind, fo as to leave no pan of its attention 
vacant foi^ thinking of any thing elfe^ In the con* 
templation of that imnK^nfe variety of agreeably 
and melodious founds, arranged and digefted^ 
both in their coincidence iind in their fuctef&on^ 
into lb complete and tegulal^ a fyfieoi^ the mind 
in reality enjoys not only a very great fenfual> bttt 
a very high intelle^ual, ^ikafbre^ not unlike tha( 
which it derives from the contemplation of agr^at 
fyftem in any other fcience« A full conceng of 
fuch infti^umemal Muiic, not only does not re* 
quire, but it does not admit of any atcompani^* 
mont. A foDg or a dance, by dema^nding an at« 
tention which we have not to fpare, would dif* 
turb, inftead of heightening) the tSeSt of the 
Muiic } they may often very propftrly fucceed* 
but they cannot accompany, it. That muiie feU 
dom means to tell any particular ftory, or to imi* 
tate any particular event, or in general to fuggeft 
any particular objefi, diftin^i from that combt* 
nation of founds of which itfelf is compofed. Jim 
meaning, therefore, may be faid to be complete 
b itfelf, and to require no interpreters te explain 
&• What is called the fubjed of fuch Mufic i$ 
merely, as has already been faid, a certain lead* 
ipg combination of notes, to which it frequentljr 
returns, and to which all its digreflions and van-* 



ations bear a certnin affinity. . Jt is altogether difi 
ierent from wliat is called the fubjeft of a poem of 
k pifturc, which is always fpmethiog which is not 
cither iii the poem o.r in the pidure, or fomiething 
quite (liftln(^ from tKat combiaation, either of 
words on the one hand, 6r of colours on the other, 
of which they are k-erpe^ivejy compofed. The 
ful(je£l of a compofition oi* lattrumental Mu- 
iic Is a part of that compofition: thefubae£iofa 
J)oem or pifture is no part ojf either; 

' The cfte<^ oif inftrumen'tal Mufic Upon tlic 
mmd has been called its expreffion. In the feelr 
ing it is frequently not unlike the effc6i of what is 
called the expreffion of Paintingj ind is fometimes 
equally fnterefling. But the effeft of the expfcf- 
fioti bf Painting arifes alwkys from the thought of 
fomethihg which^ though diftindly and ctcarljf 
fuggefted by the drawing and colouring of the 
pidlure, is altogether different from that drawing 
and cdlouring. It iYifes fometimes from fyffipa- 
thy with, fometimes from antipathy and averfioa 
to, the feticim^nts, emotions, and jpaffions which 
the countenance, the aflioii, the air and attitude 
of the pcrfons rcprefanted fuggeft. The .melody 
and harmony of inflrumental muCc, on the con- 
trary, do not diftindly and clearly fuggefl any. 
thing that is different from that melody and har- 
mony. Whatever effedl it produces is the immc- 
mediate effedl of that melody and harmony, and 
not of fomething elfe which is fignified and fug- 
gcfled by them : they in fadl fignify and fuggeft 



BOthin^. It may be proper to fay that the com* 
plete ^rt of painting, the complete merit of a pic* 
tore, is compofed of three diflin£t arts or me- 
rits ; ' that of .drawing, that; of colouring, and, 
that of ezprefiion. But to fay, as Mr. Avifoa 
does^ that the complete art of a muiician, the 
complete merit of a piece of Mufic, is compofed 
or made up of three difiin^ arts or merits, that of 
melody, that of harmony, and that of expreffion, 
is to fay, that it is made up of melody and harmo- 
ny, apd of the immediate and necefTary effe£l of 
melody and harmony : the di viiion is by no means 
logical ; expreffion in painting is not the neceflary 
efTedl either of good drawing or of^ood colouring, 
or of both together ; a pifture may be both finely 
drawn ind finely coloured, and yet have very little 
expreffion : but that effefl upon the mind which is 
called expreffion in Mufic, is the immeoiate and 
neceflary efleft of good melody. In the power of 
producing this efieA confifls the eflential charac- 
teriftic which diftinguifiies fuch melody from what 
is bad or indifferent. Harmony may enforce the 
effeft of good melody, but without good melody 
the mod fkilful harmony can produce no eScQ: 
which deferves the name of expreffion; it can do 
little more than fatigue and confound the ear. A 
painter may poflefs, in a very eminent degree, the 
talents of drawing and colouring, and yet pof- 
fefs that of expreffion in a very inferior degree. 
Such a^ painter, too, may have great merit. In 
the judgment of De Piles, even the celebrated Ti- 

R tian 


ffan ivas a painter of tMs kind. Bvt to fa^ tkat a 
tnufician ]iofleired the talents of melody and 
hattnony in a very emtnent degree, and that of 
txpteffion in a very inferior one, wonld be to 
fay, that in his works the canfe was not follow- 
ed by its neceffary and proportionable effed. A 
tnulician may be a rcvy fkiiful harmonift, and 
yet be defedive in the talents of melody, air, 
and expreflion ; his fong^ may be dull and with^ 
out effefi. Such a mufician too may have a cer* 
tain degree of merit, not unlike that of a man 
of great leaming> who wants fancy^ tafte, and 

Inllrumental Mufic, therefore, though it m^, 

no doubt, be confidered in fome refpedsas an 
imitatitr^ art, is certainly lefs (b than any other 
which merits that appellation ; it can imitate 
lofut a few objei&s, and even thefe (6 imperfeSly) 
that without the accompaniment of fome other 
art, its imitation is fearce ever intelligible: imi- 
tation is by no means elTential to it, and the 
principal tfk6ts which it is capable of producing 
arife from powera altogether difS^rent from thole 
of imitation. 




A llE imitative powers of Dancing are much 
fuperior to thofe of inftnimental Mufic, and are 
at teaft equal, perhaps fuperior, to. thofe of any 
other art. Like inftrumental Mufic, however, it 
is not neceffarily or effentially imitative, and 
can produce very agreeable efFe£ls, without imi- 
tating any thing. In the greater part of our 
tommon dances there is little or no imitation, 
and they confift almoft entirely 6f a fucceffioa 
of fuch fteps, geflures, and motions, regulated 
by the time and meafure of Mufic, as either dif- 
play extraordinary grace or require extraordina- 
ry agility. Even fome of our dances, which 
are faid to have been originally imitative, have, 
in the way in which we praftife them, almoft 
ceafed to be fo. The minuet in which the wo- 
man, after pafling and repafling the man feveral 
times, firlt gives him up oac hand, then the 
other, and then both hands, is faid to have beea 
originally a Moorilh dance, which emblematical- 
ly reprefenied the paffion of love. Many of my 
readers may have frequently danced this dance, 
and, in the opinion of all who faw them, with 
great grace and propriety, though neither they 
nor their fpedators once thought of the allego- 
rical meaning which it originally intended to ex;- 

K z A certaia 


A certain meafured, cadenced ftep, commonly 
called a dancing fiep, which keeps time with, 
and as it were beats the ibeaftire of, the Mufic 
which accompanies and direds it, is the eflential 
chara&eriftic which diftinguiihes a dance froBi 
every other fart of motion. When the dancer^ 
moving with a ftcp of this kind, and d3f€rYing 
this time and meafure, imitates either the ordi* 
nary or the more important anions of buman 
life, he {hapes and fafhions, as it were^ a thing 
of one kind, into the refemblance of another 
thing of a very different kind : his art conquers 
the difparity which Nature has placed between 
t^e imitating and the imitated obje^^ and has 
upon that account fome degree of that fort of 
merit which belongs to all the imitative arts. 
'This difparity, indeed, is not fo great as in fome 
other of ihofe arts, nor confequently the merit 
of the imitation which conquers it. Nobody 
would compare the merit of a good imitative 
dancer to that of a good painter or fiatuary. 
The dancer, however, may have a very confi- 
derable degree of merit, audi his imitation per- 
haps may fometimes l^e. capable of giving us as 
much pleafure as that of either of the other two 
artifls. All the fubjeds, either of Statuary or 
of Hiftory Painting, are within the compafs of 
his imitative powers ; and in reprefenting them, 
his art has even fome advantage over the other 
twd. Statuary and Hiftory Painting can repre- 
fent but a fingle infiant of the aAion which they 
mean to imitate: the caufes which prepaied, 



the confequenoes vi^ich followed* thefifnation of 
that fingle ioAast are altogether beypnd the 
jcompafs of their imitation. A pantomime dance 
can reprefent diftinj^ly thofe caufes and confe- 
quences ; it is not confined to the fitoation of a 
fingle iaAant ; but, like Epic Poetry, it can re* 
prefeot all the events of a long ftory, and exhi^ 
]m a IcHig tradn and fucceflioii of c6nne&ed and 
ioterefting fituationsy It is capable therefore of 
affe&ing us much more than either Statuary ox 
Painting* The ancient Romans ufed to ihed 
tears at the reprefentations of their pantomimes, 
as we do at that of the mofl interefting trager 
dies; an effe& which is altogether be^OQd the* 
powei:? of Statuary or Painting, 

The ancient Greeks appear to have been a 
nation of dancers, and both their conunon and 
tfaeii^ ftage dances feem to have been all imita^* 
tive. The ftage dances of the ancient Romans 
appear to hav6 been equally fo« Among that 
grave people it was ^ckoned indecc^nt to dance 
in private focieties; and they could therefore 
have no common dances^ Among both nations 
imitation feems t6 have been confidered as eflen^r 
tial to dancing. 

It is quite otherwife ii^ ouxiern times \ though 
we have pantomime dances upon the ftage, yet 
the greater part even of our ft^ge dances are not 
pantomime, and cannot well be faid to imitate 
any thing. The greateJT put of our common 

. dances 

tift GOT THE miTAinVK : AltTBL 

dances either nerer were ptatemimei iUi irith 
a very few excepttcms^ have ahgiKifi all C€af<?d tQ 
be fo. 

This remarkable difference of charader be^ 
tween the ancient and the modern dances feeoM 
to be the natural ^cA of a correfpondent dif* 
ftttntt in that of the Mufip, which hat accpn&< 
panied and dirc^led both the one and the other. 

In modem times we almoft always dapce ta 
inftrumental Mufic, which being itfelf not imi-; 
tittive, the greater part of the dances which it 
diredla, and as it we^e infpires^ have chafed ta 
be fo. In ancient times, on the contrary, thej 
feem to have danced almoft always, to vocal Mu* 
fie ; which beixig uecefiarily and efientially imita- 
tive, their dances became So top^ The ancients 
feem to have had littlf or nothing of what is 
properly called infimmental Mnfip^ or of Mu< 
fie compofed not to be iting by the voice, but to 
be played upon inftrument^ tuid both their wind 
and their ftringed infirumenta feem to have fenr* 
ed only as an aecompanimrat and diie&ion to 
th? voice. 

In the country it frequently happens that a 
company of yoimg people take a &ncy to (bace, 
though they have neither fiddler nor pi|)er to 
dance to. A lady undertakes to fing whik the 
teft of the company dance : in mdd cafes ihe 
finga the aMtes only^ wkhout the words, and 



Atn tlse yoke being Gttle more xbmi a nrafical 
ii^nnnent^ the dance is perfonned in the nfttal 
V9sy, without any imitation. Bift if fiie fings 
the worda^ and if in thefe words there happens 
to be fiuoiewhat more than ordinary fpirit hnd 
homour^ immediately all the company, efpeciaUyr 
all thebeft dancers, and all thofe whoxlance moft 
at their eafe, become n^ore o* lefa pantomtmea, andl 
by their geftuKs and motions exprefs, as well at 
they can, the meaning and ftory of the fong. 
This would be fiill more the cafe, if the fame 
perfon both danced and fung; a pra^ice very 
common ;unong the ancienta: it requires good 
lungs and a vigorous conftitution j b}it with thefo 
advanta^^s and long practice, the Vicry highell 
dances may be performed in tht< manner. I 
have feen a IS^egro dance to his pwi^ fong, the 
war-dance of his own country, wi^h fuch yehe- 
mence of aflion and expreffion, ^hat the whole 
company, gentleman as well as ladies, got up 
upon chairs and tables, to bp as qmch as poflible 
out of the way of his fury. In the Greek lan- 
guage there are two v^rbs which both fignify to 
dance ; each pf whi$h hM its proper derivatives, 
fignifying a dance and a dancer. In the greater 
part of Greel^ authors, thefe twQ fets of words, 
like all others which are nearly fynonimous, are 
frequently confounded, and ufed promifcqoufly. 
According to the beft critics, however, in flri^ 
propriety, one of thefe verbs figmiies to dance and 
fing at the fame time, or to dance to one's own 
mufic. The other to dance without fingtng, or 


944 or THE nilTATIVE AKTS. 

to dance to the mufic of other people^ There is 
faid to be a correfpondent differencle in the figai- 
fication of their refpedive derivatives. In the; 
chorufes of the ancient Greek tragedies, coniift- 
ing fometimes of more than fi&y perfons, ibme 
piped and fome fung, but all danced, ai^d danc- 
ed to their own mufic. 

« m «'«F'» »« m m * »« 
^ m « m » « »««. « i^ * 

Q^^\The following Obfervations were Jound among 
Mr. Smith's ManufcriptSy without any inti- 
mation whether they were intended as pari of 
this, or of a different tjfay. As they appeared 
too valuable to he fupprejedy the Editors Itave 
availed them/elves of their connexion with the 
pdffa^e referred to in p, 203. and have annexed 
them to this Effayj\ 

. Of the Affinity bett/ueen Mufc, Dancings and. 

In the fecond part of this EfTay I hayeinention- 
cd the connexion between the two arts of Mufc 
and Dancing formed bj the Rythmus, as tbe an- 


{dents termed U> oi^ as we csiU ^t, the tune oi^, 
meafure^t ^quaijy jrf^ulstfs botl^. 

Itisnof, howevei:, <ivei:y foi$ of ftep, gefture, 
or motion, of wllich the correfpondencc: with the 
tune or meafqre of Mpfiq \yUl cox^i^icute a Dan^e. 
It mufi be a ftep, gefture^ or motion of a particu-t 
lar fort. In a good 0pera-a£lor, ijipt only the mo- 
dulations and paufe$ of his voice, but every mo^ 
tion and gefture^ every variation, either in the 
^r of hi$. head or in the; attitude of his body^, cpr«* 
refpond to the time and meafure of Mu£lc. Th^ 
beft opera-a^or, however, is not, according to 
the langus(ge of any country in Europe, under** 
flood to danc^ y^ in the performance oif his part 
he generaUy makes ufe of what is called the ilage 
ftep ; but eyen tlus (lep is not underftood tobe 
a dancing (tep. 

Though the eye of th^ moil ordinary fpedator 
readily diftinguiflies between ^hat is called a 
dan(:ing ftep and any Qther Aep^ g^i^ure^ or mo- 
tion, yet it may nqt perhaps bf very eafy tp ex* 
prefs what it i§ which cQuftitutes^ this difUndioi^. 
Tp afcertain exad^ly the precife limits at ^hich 
the one fpecies begins, and the other ends, ortp 
give' an accurate de^nition of this very frivolous 
piatter^ might perhaps reqi^ire more, thought and 
attention, than the very fm^U importance of the 
fubjeA may feetu tp dcferye. Were I, however, 
to attempt to do this, I ihould obferv^, that 
though in performing any ordinary a^ion — ^in 


tjf/s or "fliE iMrrATiv£ ailtb. 

walking for eKampfe-^rom the one end of tbf 
room to th^ other^ a peribn may ifaafir both grace 
and agility, yet if he betrays the leaft intention of 
ihowing either, he is fure of ofiendiag more or 
lers, and we never &it to accufe Mm of fomedegree 
of vanity and affediation. In the perfonnwoe of 
any fwh ordinary a&ion, every perfon wifbes to 
appear to be folely occupied about the proper pur- 
pofe of the a^ion : if he means to ihov either 
grace or agility, he is carefol to conceal that mean* 
ing, and he is very feldofti fuccefsfiil in doing fo : 
he offends, however, juft in propcMtion as he be* 
trays it, and he almoft always betrays it. In 
Dancing, on the contrary, every perfon profcfc 
fesv and avows, as it .were, the intention of dif« 
playing fome degree either of grace^ or of agility, 
or of both. The difplay of one, or other, or 
both of thefe qualities, is in reality the propet 
purpofe of the adion j and there can never be 
any difagreeable vanity or affeftation in following 
out the proper purpofe of any a&ion. When we 
fay of any particular perfon, that he gives hiirfetf 
many aifefted airs and grates in Dancing, we 
mean either that he gives btrafelf airs and graces 
tirhtch are th^ nature of the Danced 
or that he executes aukwardly, perhaps exagge- 
rates too much, (the moft common fault in Danc- 
ing,) theairs and graces which are fuitable to it. 
Every Dance is in reality a fi>eceffion of airs and 
graces of ibme kind or other, and of airs and 
graces which, if I may fay fo, proftfs themfelTCS 
10 be fueh, The ftcps, genres, and motions 


titick^ «a it were, avow the {mention of exhibit^ 
}8% t focceffion of fucfa airs and graces, are t!ie 
^cps, gpftdres, 4nd motions which are pecpKtf 
to Dancing, and when theff are performed to the 
time and mealnre ofMufic, ^hey co^ftt^me wha^ 
18 properly called a Pance. 

Bat tfaongh every ibrt of ftep, gefture, or m<h 
tion, even though performed to the time and mea« 
fare of Mufic^ will not alone make a Dance, ye( 
almoft any fort of found, provided it is repeate(( 
with a difiind rythmus, or according to a diftin£k 
time and tneafure, though without any variatiou 
as to gravity or acutpnefs^ will make a fort of 
Mafic, no doubt indeed, an imperfe^l onfe^ 
Pruins, cymbals, ^nd, fo fkr as t have obferved, 
all other inftruments of percuflion, have only 
one note } this note, however, when repeated 
with a certain rythmus, or according to a certain 
time and meafure, and foih^times, in order to 
mark more diftin^ly that titne and meafure, with 
fome little variation as to loudnefs and lownefs^ 
though without any as to acutenefs and gravity; 
does certainly make a fort of Mufic, which is fre- 
quently far from being difagr^eable, and which 
even fomettmes produces confiderable elfeAs* 
The fimple note of fuch inflruments^ it is true, 
is generally a very cl^ar, or what is called a me- 
lodious, found. It d^oes not however feeniindif- 
penfably neceiTary that it fhould be fo. The found 
of the muffled drum, when it beats the dead 
march, is far from being either clear or melodi- 



OU8, «ad yet k ceitaialy produces a fpecies of 
Kufic^ yrhkh i$ Annetinics affeAing. ]^yen iii 
the per£3rfBan.Cfe of ikp moft humblfc of all ardfts, 
the man whp (jruma itpQU the uble with his fin* 
gerst w^ maf (boietim^ diftifiguifli the meafare, 
afid perhaps a little of the humour^ of fome h^ 
yourite fong; and we muft allow that even be 
make$ fome fprt qf Mufic. Without a proper 
Hep and ipotiou, the ohfervation of tune alone 
yfill not make a Dance; timealooe;^ without tune, 
IviU msil^e fofne f<urt pf ^ufic« , 

That exad obferVaticAi of tune> or of the pitv» 
per intervals of giravity and acutenefs^ which con- 
ilitute^ the great bfsauty of all peifeA Mufic, con- 
stitutes likewife its great difficulty, The time or 
meafufe pf a fong are fimple ipatters, which even 
acoarfe a^d unpradlifed ear is capaUe of difiin- 
g!£iiihing and comprehending : but to diftinguiih 
and cqmpreh^hd all the variations of the tune, 
and tp conceive with precifiop, tbe^xad propor- 
tion of every note, is what the fineft and moft 
cultivated ear is frequently no more than capable 
of perfprming. In the £jiging of the common 
people w<e may generally remark a diftin& enough 
obfervation of time, but a very imperfedi one of 
tune. To difcoyer and to diflinguifb with preci- 
fion the proper intervals of tune, muft have been 
a work of long experience and much obfervation. 
In the theoretical treatifes upon Muiic, what the au- 
thors have to fay upon time is commonly difcufled 
in a fingle chapter of no gr^at length or difficulty. 



The theoiy of tune fills cooimonly all the reft of 
the volume, and has long ago become both an 
ezteniive and an abftrilfe fdence^ which is often 
but imperfeAly comprehended^ even by intelU* 
gent artifts. In the firfi rude e£Ebrts of uncivi- 
lized nations towards finging» the niceties of 
tune could be but little attended to : I have, up-, 
on this account, been frequently difpofed to 
doubt of the great antiquity of thofe national 
fongs, which it is pretended have been delivered 
down from age to age by a fort of oral tradition, 
without having been ever noted, or diftin£tly re- 
corded for many fucceflive generations. The 
meafure, the humour of the fong, might per- 
haps have been delivered down in this manner, 
but it feems fcarcely poffible that the precife 
notes of the tune ihould have been fo preferv- 
ed. The method of finging fome of what we 
reckon our old Sc6tch fongs, has undergone 
great alterations within the compafs of my me- 
mory> and it may have undergone flill greater 

The diftindion between the founds or tones 
of finging and thofe of fpeaking feems to be of 
the fame kind with that between the fleps, gef-. 
tures> and motions of Dancing, and thofe of any 
other ordinary adion ; though in fpeaking a per* 
fon may fliow a very agreeable tone of voice, 
yet if he feems to intend to ihow it, if he ap- 
pears to liften to the found of his own voice, 


ijb br tB* iMTTATivt Asm 

ttki fts it were ta tune it into a jJiea^ng modu- 
lation, he nJever fails to ofibnd, ak guilty of a 
moft liifagreeable affs^tion. In fpeakiog; u 
in every othef ordinary a^^ion, w expeA and 
require that the ipeaker (hould attrad only to 
the proper purpoi^ of the a6iion^ th/t clear and 
dillini^ expreffion of what he has td fay. In 
finging, on the contrary, every perfon profefiei 
the intention to pleafe by the tone and ^denc€ 
of iiis Toice ; and he not only a|ipears to te 
gtiihy of no difagreeable affe&ation in doing foi 
bnt we expe£l and require that he fiiould dofo. 
To pleafe by the choice and arrangement of t- 
greeable founds is the proper pnrpofe of all Mu« 
fie, vocal as well as inftrumental ; and we always 
expeft and require, that every perfon fhoiiid at** 
tend to. the proper purpofe of whatever action 
he is performing. A perfon may appear to fiog, 
as well as to dance, affededly ; he may endea* 
^our to pleafe by founds and tones which are 
unfuitable to the nature of the fong, or he may 
dwell too much on thofe which are fuitable to it, 
or in fome other way he may fhow an overween- 
ing conceit of his own abilities, beyond what 
ieems to be warranted by his performance. The 
difagreeable affectation appears to confift always, 
not in attempting to pleafe by a proper, bat by 
fome improper modulation of the voice. It was 
early difcovered that the vibrations of chords or 
firings, which either in their lengths, or in their 
denlities, or in their <iegreee of cen&on, bear a 


dr tHJft tttlTAtlVE ARtS. 251 

certam proportion to one another, produce founds 
which correfpond exaftlyj or, as the muficians 
fay, are the unifons of^ ihofe founds or tones of 
the human voice which the ear approves of in 
finging. This difcovery has enabled muficians 
to fpeak with diftindlnefs and precifion concern- 
ing the mufical founds or tones of the human 
voice ; they can always precifely afcertain what 
are the particular founds or tpnes which they 
mean, by afcertaining what are the proportions of 
the firings of which the vibrations produce the 
unifons of thofe founds or tones. What are call- 
ed the intervals; that is, the differences, in point 
of gravity and acutenefs, between the founds or 
tones of a finging voice, are much greater and 
more diflind than thofe of the fpeaking voice. 
Though the former, therefore, .can be meafured 
and appreciated by the proportions of chords or 
firings, the latter cannot. The nicefl inflru- 
ments cannot exprefs the extreme minutenefs of 
thefe intervals. The heptamerede of Mr. Sau^ 
Hjcur could exprefs an interval fo fmall as the fe- 
venth part of what is called a comma, the fmall* 
eft interval that is admitted in modern Mufic. 
Yet even this inflrument, we are informed by 
Mr. DMcloSt could not exprefs the minutenefs 
of the intervals in the pronunciation of the 
Chinefe language; of all the languages in the 
worlds that of which the pronunciation is faid 
to approach the nearefl to finging, or in which 
the intervals are faid to be the greatefl. 



As the founds or tones of the finging ^oice^ 
therefore, can be afcertained or appropriated^ 
while thofe of the fpeaking voice cannot; the 
former are capable of being noted or recorded^ 
while the lauer are not. 


If H E A F F I N I T Y 




X HE meafure of the verfes, of which the oc^ 
tave of the Italians, their tera^tti, and the greats 
er part of their fonnets, are compofed, f^ms tq 
be as nearly the fame with that of the EuglifH 
Heroic Rhyme, as the difier^ot genius and pro^ 
punciation of the two Uncages will permit. 

The EngHfli Heroic Rhyme is fuppofed to 
confift fometimes of ten, and fometimes of ele« 
ven fyliables : of ten, when the verfe ends with 
a fingle; and of eleven^ when it ends with a 
double rhyftie, 

"f he coiT^fpondetit Italiau verfe is fuppbfedt 
to confift fometimes of ten, fometimes of ele- 
ven, atld fometiqies of twelve fyliables, accord- 
ing as it happens to^ end with a fingle, a double^ 
or a triple rhyme. 

The rhyme ought naturally to fall upon the 

laft fyllable of the verfe ; it is proper likewife 

that it fhould fall upon an accented fyllable, in 

order to rendelr it more fenfible. When, there- 

S z \ fore. 


fore, the accent happens to fall, not upon the 
laft fyllable, but upon that immediately before it, 
the rhyme muft fall both upon the accented fyU 
lable and upon that which is not accented. It 
muft be a double rhyme- 
In the Italian language, when the accent falls 
neither upon the laft fyllable, nor upon that im- 
mediately before it, but upon the third fyllable 
from the end, the rhyme muft fall upon all the 
three. It muft be a triple rhyme, and the verfe 
is fuppofed to confift of twelve fyllables : 

FoTii era vcr^ nonpero cred^hUe^ dec* 

Triple rhymes are not admitted in Englilh He- 
roic Verfe, 

In the Italian language the accent falls tnuch, 
more rarely, either upon the third fyllable from 
the end of a word, or upon the laft fyllable? than it 
does upon the one immediately before the laft. 
In reality, this fecond fyllable from the end 
feems, in that language, to be its moft common 
and natural place. The Italian Heroic Poetry, 
therefore, is compofed principally of double 
rhymes, or of verfes fuppofed to confift of ele- 
Ten fyllables. Triple rhymes occur but feldoin, 
and fingle rhymes ftill more feldom. 

In the Englifti language the accent falls fre- 
quently upon the laft fyllable of the word. Our 
language, beftdes^ abounds in words of one fyl- 

> lable, 


labfe, the greater part of which do (for there 
are few which do not) admit of being accent- 
ed. Words of one fyllable are moft frequently 
the concluding words of Englifti rhymes. For 
both thefe reafons, Englifti Heroic Rhyme is 
principally compofed of fingle rhymes, or of 
verfes fuppofcd to confift of ten fyllables. Dou- 
ble Rhymes occur almoft as rarely in it, as ei- 
ther. fingle or triple do in the Italian. 

The rarity of double rhymes in Englifh He- 
roic Verfe makes them appear odd, and auk- 
ward, and even ludicrous, when they occur. By 
the bell writers, therefore, they are referved 
for light and ludicrous occaiions ; when, in or- 
der to humour their fubjedi, they ftoop to a 
more familiar ftyle than ufual. When Mr. Pope 

Worth makes the man^ and want of it the fellow ; 
The reft is all but leather or prunello ; 

he means, in compliance with his fubje^, to con- 
defcend a good deal below the ftatelinefs of his 
diCllon in the Effay on Man. Double rhymes 
abound more in Dryden than in Pope, and in 
Hudibras more than in Dryden. 

The rarity both of fingle and of triple rhymes 
in Italian Heroic Verfe, gives them the fame 
odd and ludicrous air which double rhymes 
have in Englifh Verfe. In Italian, triple rhymes 



occur more frequently than fingle r^yihcsi TKc 
flippery, or if I may be allowed to ufe a very 
low, but a very exprcflive word, the glib pro- 
nunciation of the triple rhyme (verfo Jbtruc- 
eiolo) feems to depart lefe from the ordinary 
movement of the double rhyme, than the ab- 
rupt ending of the fingle rhyme (verfo iromo 
€ cadente) of the verfe that appears to be cut 
off, and to fall fhort of the ufual meafur^. Sin- 
gle rhymes accordingly appear in Italian verfc 
much more burlefque than triple rhymes. Sin- 
gle rhymes occur ^ very rarely in Ariofto; but 
frequently in the more burlefque poem of Ric- 
ciardetto. Triple rhymes occur much oftener 
in all the bed writers. It is thus, that what 
in Engliih appears to be the verfe of the great- 
, eft gravity^ and dignity, appears in Italian to 
be the moft burlefque and ludicrous; for w 
other reafon, I apprehends but becaufe in the 
one language it is the ordinary verfe, whereas 
in the other it departs the moft from the moye- 
ment of the ordinary verfe. 

The common Italian Heroic Poetry, being cqm- 
pofed of double rhynaes, it can admit both qf 
fingle and of triple rhymes ; which fecm to re-« 
cede from the common nKXvemeht on oppofitc 
fides to nearly equal diftances. The comqiofl 
Englifli Heroic Pojetry, coi^fifting of fingle rhyipes, 
it can admit of double; but it cannot admit 
of triple rhymes, which would recede fo. far 
firom the common movements as to appear 



perffealy bUrlefque and ridiculous. In Eoglifh, 
when a wo^rd accented lipon the third fyllable 
from the end happens to nvike the laft word of 
a verfe, the rhyme falls upon the laft fyllable 
only. It is a fingle rhyAie, and the verfe con- 
fifts of t^ more than (en fyllables : but aa the 
laft CyMable h not accented, it is an iia2pQrfe& 
rhyme, which, however, when confined to the 
fecond verfe of the ceiap4et, and even there ifl- 
troduced but rarely, may have a Very agreeable 
grace, and the line may even feem to run more 
eafy and natural by means of it t 

But of thiji frame^ tHe ib^rinjji, and the ties^ 
Tbe find conntdicms, nice dependencies, &x* 

When by a well accented fyllable in the end 
of the firft line <^ a couplet, it has once beea 
dearly afcertained what the rhyme is to be, a 
very flight allnfion to it, inch as can be made 
by a fyllable of the fame termination that is 
not accented) n>ay often be fufiBcient to mark 
the coincidence in the fecood line i a word of 
this kind in the end of the firft line feldom fuc« 
ceeds fo weH : 

Th' inhabitants of old JetidUem 

Weije Jebuiites ; th(e town fo called from them* 

A couplet in w^ich both verfes were terminated 
in this manner, would be extremely difagreeable 
and offenlive. 


la countiDg the fyllaWes, cvea of Verfes 
"which to the ear appear fufBciently conefi, a 
confiderable indulgence muft frequently be given, 
before they can^ in eitheir language^ be reduced 
to the precifii number of ten> eleven, or twelve, 
according to the nature of the rhymes In the 
following eouplet, for example, there are, find- 
ly fpeaking, fourteen fyllablea in the firft line, 
and twelve in the fecond^ 

And inany a humourous, many an amorout laj. 
Was fung hj ihaiij a bard, oil many a lla)r. 

fiy the rapidity, howeveh. or, if I may ufe a 
very low word a fecond time, by the glibncfs 
of the pronunciation, thofe fourteen fyllables 
in the firft liiie, and thofe twelve in the fecond, 
appear to take up thie time but of ten ordinary 
fyllables. The words, tnany a, though they 
plainly confift of three . diftinft fyllables, or 
founds, which are all pronounced fucceflively, 
or the one after the other, yet pafs as but two 
fyllables i as do likewife thefe words hunmrm 
and amoireusx The w6rd8 heaven and given in 
the fame manner, confift each of them of two 
fyllables, which, how rapidly foever they may 
be pronoujiced, ci^nndt be pronounced but fuc- 
ceffively, or the one after the other. In Verfe, 
however, they are confidered as^ confiftiogbut 
of one fyllable each. 

In counting the fyllables of the Italian Heroic 
Verfe, fiill greater indulgences muft be allowed: 



)Lbiee Towelft muft there frequently be counted 
as making but one fyllable, tliough they are all 
pronounced, rapidly indeed^ but in fucceflions 
or the one after the other, and though no two 
of them are fuppofed to make a diptlithoi^. 
In thefe licences too, the Italians feem not to 
be very regular, and the fame concourfe of 
vowels whic^h in one place makes but one fyl- 
hble, will in another fometimes make two- 
There are even fome wbrds which in the end 
of a verfe are conftantly counted for two fyl- 
lables, but which in any other part of it are 
never counted for more than one, fuch sajiio, 
tuoy fuoU tuoi. 

Rufcelli oUi;rves, that in the Italian Heroic 
Verfe the accent ought to falF upon the fourth, 
the fixth, the eighth, and the tenth fyllables; 
and that if it falls upon the third, the fifth, 
the feventh, or the ninth fyllables, it fpoils the 

In Englifh, if the accent falls upon any of the 
above-mentioned odd fyllables, it equally fpoils 
the verfe. 

Bov^'d their fliff necks, loaden witk ftorm/ blafts. 

Though a line of Milton has not the ordi- 
nary mov^sment of an Englilh Heroic Verfe, 
the accent flails upon the third and fifth fyl- 


t<2 OP Oi^RtAlN fiNCilSH 

Eft Italka frequently, and in EngfHti Ibro^ 
tknesi an aceont is with great grace thrown up<m 
the firft fyikble i in which cafe it feldom hap- 
pens that any otfa^r fjllable is aeeented before 

f bft io th<6 Mds i ttj the fykat fiiaini. 

Both in Englifh and in Italian the fecond 
fyUable may be accented with great grace, and 
it generally is fo when the firft fylUble is bo( 
accented : 

E in van Finferno a^ liu s^oppofe ; e in vano 
S* armo d* jljta^ e di Libia ilpopol mifio^ &c* 

Let tt», fi&ce life can little mcve fuppljr 
Than juft to look about us, tad to die^ ka* 

Both in Bngliih and in Italian Verfe> an ao 
cent, though it muft never be mifpilaGed, may 
fome times be omitted with great grace. la the 
laft of the above-quoted Engliflx Verfes there is 
no accent upon the eighth fyUable ; the conjuQc- 
tion and not admitting of any. In the foUowiiif 
Italian Verfe there is no accent upon the fixth 

Mufay t% chi dt caduchi alloti, &c. 

The prepofition di will as little admit o{ an 
accent as the coDJun^lioQ and* In this cafe, 
however, when the even fyUable is not acceot«d, 



neither of the odd fylhbles immediately teforc or 
behind it muft be accented'. 

Neither in Englifti nor in Italian can two ac^ 
cents running be omitted; 

It muft be obferved, that in Italian there ar* 
two accents, the grave and the acute : the grave 
accent is always marked by a flight ftroke over 
the fy liable to which it belongs ; the acute ac- 
cent Mas no mark. 

The Engliih language knows no diflin£iioa 
between the grave and the acute accents^ 

The fame author obferves, that in the Italian 
Verfe the Paufe, or what the grammarians call 
the Cefura, may with propriety be introduced 
after either the third, the fourth, the fifth, the 
fixth, or the feventh fylhbles. The like obfer- 
vations have been made by feveral different wri* 
ters upon the Englifh Heroic Verfe. Dobie ad^ 
mires particularly the verfe in which there are 
two paufes ; one after the fif^b, and another aftec 
the ninth fyliable. The eseample he gives is from 
Petrarch : 

Nfil ta primtLeUide^ &c. 

In this verfe, the fecond paufe, which he fays 
comes after the ninth fyllable,. in reality comes 
in between the- two vowels, which, in the 



Italian way of counting fyllables^ tompofc the 
ninth fyllablc. It may be doubtful, therefore) 
whether this paufe may not be confidered as 
coming after the eighth fyllable. I do not 
recoiled any good Englilh Verfe in which the 
paufe comes in after the ninth fyllablc. Wc 
have many in which it comes in after the 
eighth : 

Yet oft, before Ki^ in&ht tjet, wbuld tun, &e» 

In which verfe there are two paufes; one 
after the fecond, and the other after the 
eighth fyllablc. I have obferved many Ju- 
lian Verfes in which the paufe comes after the 
fecond fyllable. 

Both the Engliflx and the Italian Heroic 
Verfe, peiiiaps, are not fo properly compofed 
of a certain number of fyllables, which vary 
according to the nature of the rhyme ; as of 
a certain number of intervals, (of five inva- 
riably,) each of which is equal in length, or 
time, to two ordinary diftin£l fyllabies, though 
it may fometimes contain more, of which the 
extraordinary (hortnefs compenfates the extra* 
ordinary number, llie clofe frequently of 
each of thofe intervals, but always • of every 
fecond interval, is marked by a diftinS ac- 
cent. This accent may frequently, with great 
grace, fall upon the beginning of the firft iQ- 
terval; after which, it cannot, without fpoil- 


ing the verfe, fall any where but upon the 
clofe of au interval- The fyllable or fyllabl^s 
which come after the accent that clofes the fifth 
interval are never j^cccnted. They ^lake no dif- 
tindl interval, but are confidered as a fort of 
excrefcence of the verfe^ and au'e in a planner 
counted foi nothings 



OF i'Hfe 


External senses. 

X HE Senfes, by which w* perceive eitefnal 
objefts, are commonly reckoned Five in Num- 
ber; Seeing, Hearings Smelling, Tailing) and 

Of thefe, the four firft mentioned are each 
of them confined to particular parts or organs 
of the body ; the Senfe of Seeing is confined to 
the Eyes ; that of Hearing to the Ears ; that of 
Smelling to the Noftrils 5 and that of Tailing to 
the Palate. The Senfe of Touching alone feems 
not to be confined to any particular organ, but 
to be diffufed through almoft every part of the 
body ; if we except the hair and the nails of the 
fingers and toes, I believe through every part of 
it. I fhall fay a few words concerning each of 
thefe Senfes ; beginning with the laft, proceed- 
ing backwards in the oppofite order to that in 
which they are commonly enumerated. 



Of the Senfi of Touching. 

The objefls of Touch always prefent thcm- 
fejvps a^ prefliQg ppoo, or aa refiftiiig tb© par- 
ticular part of the body which perceives them, 
or by which we perceive them. When I lay 
my hand upon the table, the table preffes upofl 
my hand, or refills the further motion of my 
hand, in the fame manner as my hand prei&i 
upon tke table. ]^ pr^ffure or refiftance ne- 
ceflarily fuppofe^ externality in the thing which 
preffes or refifts. The tabk. CQuld not preiii 
upon, or refift the further motion of tfxy handp 
if it was not e±ternal to my hand. Tfeel it 
%?cordingly, as fom^sthing whfclr is not merely 
s(n afifeAbn of ipy ha^d, bu^ altogether eKU^roil 
to, and independent of my hand* The agreea- 
ble, indifSprent, or painful fenfRti^n ^^ preffure> 
^K^pordi^g as I happen t^ pfc& hardly or foftIy> 
\ fe^t no^ d<M;ibt, ai$ affeiftioas of ray hand ? bu« 
the thing wh>ch preffes «ii4 refiita I feel as fomo- 
thii^g altogethier different from thQfi^ zjSkSkmh 
^ e^tern^ to my h^ndd 9Qd i^ tUtpgethcir iad^** 
pendent of it;. 

^In moving igjf hapd along the table it ibca 
comes, in every direftion, to a place wier« 
this preffuxe pr refiftance ceafes. This place we 
call the boundary, or end of the table; of which 
the extent and figure are determined by the extent 



and direaion of the lines or furfaces which cou- 
fiitute this bouodary or end. 

It is iQ this manner that a man born blind, 
tHT who has loft his fight fo early that he has 
no remembrance of vifible objefts, may form 
the j^oft diftinft Idea of the exte^t ajid figure 
of all the di^eTjent parts of his own body, 
and of every oth^r tangible objeil which he 
has ^Q opportunity of handling and examining. 
Whea be lays bis hand upon his foot, as hi^ 
hand feels the preiFure or refiflance of his foot, 
fp his foot feels that of his hand, They are 
both e^teri^al to one another, but they are, nei- 
ther of them, altogether fo external to him. He 
feels in both, and he natprally confiders them 
as parts of himfelf, or at leaft as fomething which 
bejlong^ to him, and wluch, for his own happi- 
nefs and comfort^ it is neceilary that he fliould 
take fome care of* 

M^hen h^e l^ys his hand i^pon the table, 
thou«fh his band feels the preiTure of the table, 
the table does not fee}, or at le^ he does not 
kxK>w that it feels^ the preflure of his hand. 
He feels it therefore as fomething external, not 
only to his hand, but to himfelf, as fomething 
which makes no part of himfelf, and in the ftate 
and condition of which he has not neceffarily 
any concern. 

T« Wheii 


When he lays his hand upon the body eitJirf 
of another man, or of any other animal, though 
he knows, or at leaft may know, that they feel 
the preflure of his hand as much as he feels that of 
their body : Yet as this feeling is altogether ex- 
ternal to him, he frequently gives no attention to 
it, and at no time takes any further concern in 
it than he is obliged to do by that fellow-feeling 
which Nature has, for the ii^ifeft purpofcs, im- 
planted in man, not only towards all other men, 
but (though no doubt in a much weaker degree) 
towards all other animals. Having deftined Mm 
to be the governing animal in this little world, it 
feems to have been her benevolent intention to 
infpire him with fome degree of refpcd, even for 
the meaneft and weakeft of his fubjeds^ 

Thisr power or quality of reiiftance we call 
Solidity ; and the thing which poilefles it,, the 
Solid Body or Thing. As we feel it as fomething 
altogether external to ns, fo we neceflarily con- 
ceive it as fomething altogether independent of 
ns. We confider itj^ therefore, zs what we all 
a Subftance, or as a thing that fubfiiis by itfelf, 
and independent of any other thing. Solid and 
fubftantial, accordingly, are two words which, in 
common language, are confidered either as alto- 
gether, or as nearly fynonimous. 

Solidity necefTarily fu|>pofes fome degree of ex- 
teniion, and that in all the three diredions of 
length, breadth^ and thtcknefs. All the folid 



bodies, of which we have any experience, have 
Same degree of fuch bulk or magnitude. It feems 
to be eilential to their nature, and without v it, we 
cannot evea cpuceive how they ihould be capable 
of preflure or refiftance ; the powers by which 
they are made known to us, and by which alpne 
they are capable of a£ling upp4 our own, find up* 
Qu f U other bpdi^s^ 

Extcnfion, at leaft any fenfible extenfion, fup- 
pofes diviiibiUty. The body may be fo hard, that 
9ur ftrength ia not fuificient to break it ; \yp flill 
fuppofe, however, that if a fufficient force were 
applied, it might be fo broken ; and, at any rate, 
lye can always, in fancy at lead, imagine it to b? 
divided intq two pr jnor^ partj^ 

Every folid and extended body, if it be nPt in- 
finite, (as the univerfe may be conceived to be,) 
muft have the fame ihape or figure? or be bounded 
by pertain^ lines and furf^ces* 

Every fuch body muft likewife be conceived as 
capable both of motion and of reft ; both of al- 
tering its fituatiqn with regard to other furround- 
ing bodies, and of remaining in the fame fituation. 
That bodies of fqiall or moderate bulk, are cap,a- 
ble of both motion and reft we have conftant e^sc- 
perience. Great ma^es, perhaps, are, accord- 
ing to the ordinary habits of the imagination, fiip- 
pofed to be more fitted for reft than foe motion.^ 
Prc^vided a fufixcient force could be applied, how- 



ever, we have no difficulty in eonceiving that the 
greateft and moft unwieldy ntaiTta might' be made 
capable of motion. Philofophy teaches us, (and 
by reafons too to whieh it is fcarcely |>offible to 
refufe our aflent,) that the earth itfelf, and bodies 
much larger than the earth, are not only move- 
able, but are at all times actually in motion, and 
continually altering their fituation, in rcfpeft to 
other furrounding bodies, with a rapidity that al- 
moft pafles all human compreheniion. tn the fyf- 
tem of the univcrfc, at leaft according to the im- 
perfe£l notions which we have hitherto been able 
to attain concerning it, the gt-eat difficulty fecrat 
to be, not to find the moft enormous mifies ia 
motion, but to find the fmalleft particle of matter 
that is perfe6ily at reft, with regard to allodier 
furrounding bodies. 

Thefe four qualities, or attributes of exteijfion, 
divifibility, figate, and mobility, or the capacity 
of motion or reft, feem ncceflarily involved ia 
the idea or conception of a folid fnbftance. They 
are, in reality, infeparable from that idea of con- 
ception, and the folid fubftance cannot poffibly 
be conceived to exift without them. No other 
qualities or attributes feem to be involved, in the 
fame manner, in this our idei or conception of 
folidity. It would, however, be rafti fh)m thence 
to conclude that the folid fubftatlce can, as fuch, 
poffefs no other qualities or attributes. This very 
ralh conclufion, notwithftauding, has been not 



j^&ty djraWD) bm infilled u^on, ki an axiem of 
the moft indubitable cenaint j, bjr philofophers of 
very (»i>in€Ut re|aitation. 

Of tHefe cxtiiriial <ind refifting fubftances, fome 
yield eJlfily, knd change their figure, at Ifeaft ife 
fome iJegrec, in confequence of the prefflire of 
on? hand ; others neither yield por change their 
figure, it any reFpeft, in confequence of the ut'- 
moil pf^flure which out hand alone is capable of 
giving them. The fortftcr We call foft, the ktter 
hard, bodies. In fome bodies the parts are fo 
very tgfily feparabk, that they not only yipld tb 
a very tooderate J^reflbte, but eafily receive thfe 
jif effitlg body within them, and without much ri- 
fiftance allo\*f it to traverfc their fextent in every 
poflible direftion. iThtfe are callfed Fluid, inton- 
tradiftin^iop tp tl^ofe of which the pdrts not beiiig 
fo eafily feparable, a^e upon that account pecu- 
liarly called Solid jBodie^ ; as if tl^ey pofleflTed, 
in a moire diftinfl and pcrfciptible manner, the 
charaiSleHftical quality of folidity or the power of 
refiftince. Water, ^owever, (one of the fluids 
with which We arc rndft familiar,) when confirfed 
on all fides, fas in a hollow globe of metal, which is 
firft filled With it, and then fealed hermetically,) 
has been fbund to refift preffure as much as the 
hard^ft, or what we commonly call the moft folid 

Some fluids yield fo very eafily to the flighteft 
pr^flbre^ that Vipt>x\ ordinary occafions we are 



fcarody fenfible to their refiibmce ; and are upon 
that account little di^fed to conceive them as bo- 
dies, or as things capable of preffure and reiif- 
taoce. There was a time, as we may learn from 
Ariftotle and Lucretias, when it was fappofed to 
require fome degree of philofophy to demonftrate 
that air was a real folid body, or. capable of pr^f- 
fure and refiftance. What, in ancient times, and 
in vulgar apprehenlions, was fuppofed to be. 
doubtful with regard to air, flill continues to be 
fo with regard to light, of which the rajs, how- 
ever condenfed or concentrated, have never ap- 
peared capable of making the finalleft refinance 
to the motion of other bodies, the chara6lcriflical 
power or quality of what are called bodies, orfolitf 
fubftances. Some philofophers accordingly doubts 
and fome even deny, that light is a material 0^ 
corporeal fubftance. 

Though all bodies or folid fubftances refill, yet 
all thofe with which we are acquainted appear to 
be more or lefs compreffiblc, or capable of hav- 
ing, without any diminution in the quantity of 
their matter, their bulk more or lefe reduced 
withia a fmaller fpace than that which they ufually 
occupy. An experiment of the Florentine aca- 
demy was fuppofed to have dempnftrated that wa- 
ter was abfolutely incpmprcffible. The fame ex- 
periment, however, having been repeated ^^^ 
more care and accuracy, it appears, that water, 
though it ftrongly refifts comprefEon, ia, how- 
ever, when a fufficient force is applied, like all 



pthcr bodies, in fome degree liable to it. Air, 
on the (Contrary, by the application of a very . 
moderate force, is eafily reducible within a much 
fmaller pordou of fpace than that which it ufu- 
ally occupies. The condenfing engine, and what 
is founded upon it, the wind-gun, fufficiently 
demonflrate this : and even without the help of 
fuch ingenious and expenfive machines, we may 
eafily fatisfy ourfelves of the truth of it, by fqueez- 
ing a full-blown bladder of'wl^ich the neck is 
well tied. 

The hardnefs or foftnefs of bodies, or the 
greater or fmaller folrcc with which they refift 
any change of Ihape, feems to depend altogether 
upon the llfonger or weaker degree of cohefion 
with which tl^eir parts arc mutually attraded to 
one another^ The greater or fmaller force with 
which they refift compreffion may, upon many 
occafions, be owing partly to the fame caufe: 
but it may likewife be owing to the greater or 
fmaller proportion of empty fpace comprehend- 
ed within their dimenfions, or intermixed with 
the folid parts which compofe them. A body 
which comjprehended no empty fpace. within its 
dim«nfions, which, through all its part§, was 
completely filled with the refitting fubftance, we 
are naturally difpofed to conceive as fomething 
which would refift, with unconquerable force, 
every attempt to reduce it within narrower di- 
menfions. If the folid and refifting fubftance, 
without moving out of its place, fliould admit 



into thd fame plkce andther folid and itfifting 
iubftaDCG) it would fronk that moment, in our 
apprehenfion, ceafe to b^ a iblid ^nd rcfifting 
fubftance^ and would no longer appear to poffeft 
thit quality, by which alone it is made known 
to US) and which we therefore confider as con- 
ftituting its nature and eflence, and as altogether 
infeparable from it. Hence oUr notioa of what 
has been called impenetrability of matter ; or of 
the abfolute impoflibility that two fbiid refiftiog 
fubflanccs Ihould occupy the fame place a^ tfa^ 
fame time. 

This do6)rine, which is as old as Leucippus, 
D^mocritufi) and Epicurus, was in the laft cen^ 
tury revived by Qaflendi> and has fm<:e been 
adopted by Newton and the far gteater part of 
his followers. It may at preient be confidered 
as the eftablifced fyftem, or as the fyfienl that 
is moft in faihiony and moil approved of by the 
greater part of' the philofophers of Europe. 
Though it has been oppofed by fcveral puzzling 
arguments, drawn frc«n that fpecies of metaphy^ 
£cs which confounds every thing and explaioi 
nothing, it fecms upon the whole to be the moft 
fimple, the moft diftind, and the moft cOropre^ 
heafible account that has yet been given of the 
phaenomena which are meant to be explained by 
it. I ftiall only obfervc, that whatever fyftem 
may be adopted concerning the hardnefs or foft* 
nefs, the fluidity or fdidity, the compreffibilitj 
or incompreflibility, of the rcfifting fubftance, 



t^e eertaint^r of our diftin£i fettfe and feeling of 
its Externality^ or of its entire independency 
upon the organ which perceives it, or by whicl^ 
we perceive it, cannot in the ftnalleft degree bo 
affe6ted by any fnch fyftcm, I Ihall not there- 
fore attempt to give any further account of fuch 

Heat and cold being felt by alrtioft every pari 
of the haman body^ have commonly been rank^ 
ed along with folidity and refiAance, aihong th^ 
qualities which are the objedis of Touch. It 
f^ Dot> hoiyever, I thinks in our language pro^* 
per: to fay that we touch, but that ive feel> th# 
qualities uf beat and cold. The word faling^ 
though in many cafes \^e ufe it as fynonimotis to 
iouching, has, however, a pauch Inore extenfiv^ 
fignification, and is frequently employed to de- 
note our internal) as well as out elteirna], affec- 
tions. We feel hunger and thirft, we feel joy 
and forrow, we feel k>ve and hatred. 

Heat and cold, in reality, though they may 
frequently be perceived by the fame parts of the 
httoian body, conAitute an order of fenfations 
altogether different from thofe which are the 
proper objefls of Touch, They are naturally 
felt, not as prefiing upon the organ, but as ia 
the organ. What we feel while we ftand in the 
funfhine during a hot, or in the (hade during a 
frofly,,day, is evidently felt, not as prefiing up- 
on the body, but as in the body. It does not 


1^ Op the external senses, 

neceflarily fuggeft the prefence of any external 
objeft. It is a fcnfation which neither does nor 
can e:s:ift any where but either in the organ 
which feels it, or in the unknown principle of 
perception, whatever that may be, which feck 
in that organ, or by means of tha( orgaj[i. When 
we lay our hand upon a table, which is either 
heated or cooled a good d^al beyond the adual 
temperature of our hand, we have two diftinft 
pierceptions : firft, that of the folid or refiflbg 
table, which is neceflarily felt as fomething ei- 
temal to, and independent of the hand which 
feels it : and fecondly, that of the heat or ccdd, 
which by the contad of the table is excited in 
our hand, and which is naturally felt as nowhere 
but in our hand, or in the principle of percepi 
tion which feels ja our hand. 

But though the fenfations of heat and cold 
do not neceflarily fuggeft the prefence of any 
external objeft, we foon learn from experience 
that they are commonly excited by fome fuch 
ohjeSt ; fometimes by the temperature of fome 
external body immediately in conta€l with our 
own body, and fometimes by Ibme body at ei- 
ther a moderate or a great diftance from us; as 
by the fire in a chamber, or by the fun in a 
Summer^s day. By the frequency and unifor- 
mity of this experience, by the cuftom and ha* 
bit of thought which that frequency and uni- 
formity neceflarily occaiion, the Internal Senfa- 
tion, and the External Caufe of that Senfation, 




come in our canception to be fo ftridlly con- 
nefted, that in our ordinary and carelefs way 
of thinking, we are apt to confider them as al- 
moft one and the fame thing, and therefore de- 
note them by one and the fame word. The 
confuiion, however, is in this cafe more in the 
word than in the thought; for in reality we ftill 
retain fome notion of the diftinaion, though 
we do not always evolve it with that accuracy 
which a very flight degree of attention might 
enable us to do. When we move our hand, 
for example, along the furface of a very hot ot 
of a very cold table, though we fay that the ta- 
ble is hot or cold in every part of it, we never 
mean that, in any part of it, it feels the fenfa- 
tions either of heat or of cold, but that in every 
Jjart of it, it poffeffes the power of exciting one 
or other of thofe fenfations in our' bodies* The 
philofophers who have taken fo much pains to 
prove that there is no heat in the fire, meaning 
that the fenfation or feeling of heat is not in the 
fire, have laboured to refute an opinion which the 
mofl ignorant of mankind never entertained. 
But the fame word beings in common language, 
employed to figriify both the fenfation aild the 
power of exciting that fenfation, they, without 
knowing it perhaps, or intending it, have taken, 
advantage of this ambiguity, and have triumphed 
in their own fuperiority, when by irrcfiftible ar- 
guments they eftabliflx an opinion which, in 
words indeed, " is diametrically oppofite to the 
mofl obvious judgments of mankind, but which 



ID reality U per&dly agreeable to ihok judg- 

()/ fie Senfe o/" Tasting. 

When we tafte any folid or liquid fubdance, 
Ve have always two diftinft perceptions; firft, 
that of the folid or liquid body, which is natu- 
rally felt as preffing upon, and therefore as ex- 
ternal to, and independent of, the organ which 
feels it; and feconcjly, that of the panicular 
taOe, relifli, or favour which it excites in the 
palate or organ of Tailing, and which is natu- 
rally felt, not as preffing upon, as external to, 
or as independent of, th^t organ ; but as altoge- 
ther in the organ, aad nowhere biit in the or- 
gan, or in the principle of perceptioa which 
feels in that organ. When we fay that the food 
which we eat has an agreeable or difagreeable 
tafte in every part of it, we do not thereby mean 
that it has the feeling or fenfatioa of tafte in 
any part of it, but that in every part of it, it has 
the power of exciting that feeling or fenfaiion 
in our palates. Though in this cafe we denote 
by th,e fame word (in thq fame manner, and for 
the fame rcafou, as in the cafe of heat and cold) 
both the fenfatioa and the power of exciting 
that fenfation, this ambiguity of language mif- 
leads the natural judgments of m^nl^ind in the 
one cafe as little as in tlie other- Nobody ever 


QP THE 5XTiRNAI, 8EN6E$, alj 

fancies that our food feels its own agreeable or 
difagreeable t^ile. 

Of the Senfe of Smelling. 

Every fmell or odour is naturallfy felt as ia the 
tioftrils ; not as preffing upon or refifting the or- 
gan, not as in any refpe£l external to, or inde- 
pendent of, the organ, but as altogether in the 
organ, ^and nowhere elfe biit in the organ, or in 
the principle of perception which feels in that or- 
gan. We foon learn from experience, however, 
that this fenfation is commonly excited by fome 
external bodyj by a flower, for example, of 
which the abfence removes, and, the prefcnce 
brings back, the fenfation. This external body 
we confider as the caufe of this fenfation, and we 
denominate by the fame words both the fenfation 
and the power by which the e:Scternal body pro- 
duces this fenfation. But when we fay that the 
fmell is in the flower, we do not thereby mean 
that the flower itfelf has any feeling of the fenfa- 
tion which we feel ; but that it has the power of 
exciting this fenfation in our nofl:riIs, or in the 
principle of perception which feels in our noftril?. 
Though the fenfation, and the power by which it 
is excited, are thus denoted by the fame word, 
this ambiguity of language mifteads, in this cafe, 
the natural judgments pf mankind a^ little as in 
the two preceding. 



Of the Senfc o/* Hearing: 

Every found is naturally felt as in the Ear, 
the organ of Hearing. Sound is not naturally felt 
as refilling or prefling upon the organ, or as in 
any refpeft external to, or independent of, the 
organ. We naturally feel it as an affeflion of our 
Ear, as fomething which is altogether in our Ear, 
and no where but in our Ear, or in the principle 
of perception which feels in our Ear. We foon 
learn from experience, indeed, that the fenfation 
is frequently excited by bodies at a confidera- 
ble diftance from us; often at a much great- 
er diftance than thofe ever are which excite the 
fenfation of Smelling. We learn too from experi- 
ence, that this found or fenfation in our Ears re-^ 
ceives different modifications, according to the 
diftance and diredion of the body which originally 
caufes it. The fenfation is ftronger, the found is 
louder, when that body is near. The fenfation is 
weaker, the found is lower, when the body is at 
a diftance. 'The found, or fenfation, too under- 
goes fome Variation according as the body is plac- 
ed on the right hand or on the left, before or be- 
hind us. In common language we frequently fay, 
that the found feems to come from a great of from 
a imall diftance, from the right hand or from the 
left, before or behind u^. In comrhon language 
we frequently fay, that the found feems to come 
from a great or from a fmall diftance, from the 

'' right 


Tight h^nd or from the left, from before or from 
behind us. We frequently fay too that we hear 
a found at a great or a fmall diflance, on our right 
hand or on our left. The real found, however, 
the fenfation in our ear> cto never be heard or 
felt a^y where but in 6ur ear, it ean never change 
its place, it is incapable of motion, and can come, 
therefore, neither from the right nor from the left, 
neither from before nor from behind us. The Ear 
can feel ^r hear no where but where it is, and can- 
not ftretch out its powers of perception, either 
to a^eat or to a fmall diflance, either to the right 
or to the left. By all fuch phrafes we in reality 
mean nothing but to exprefs our opinion concern* 
ing either the diftance, or the dire£lion of the 
body*, which excites the ftofation of found. Whea 
we fay that the fou^d is in the bell, we do not 
mean that the bell hears its own found, or that any 
thing like our fenfation is in the bell, but that it 
poflefles the power of exciting that fenfation in 
our organ of hearing. Though in this, as well as 
in fome other cafes, we exprefs by the fame 
word, both the Senfation, and the Power of ex- 
citing that Senfation ; this ambiguity of language 
occaiions fcarce any confufion in the thought, 
and when the different meanings of the word are 
properly diflinguifhed, the opinions of the vulgar 
Jand thofe of the philofopher, though apparently 
oppofite, turn out to be exaflly th^ fame. 

Thefe four clafTes of fecondary qualities, as 
philofophers have called them, or to fpeak mord 

U properly. 


J)roperly, thefc four clailes of Senfaiions ; Heat 
and Cold, Taftc, Smell, and Sound ; being felt,. 
Hot as refifiing or prefiing upon the organ ; bat as 
in the organ, are not naturally perceived as exter- 
nal and independant fubfiances ; or eivcn as qua- 
lities of fuch fubftances ; but as mere affeSiont 
Df the organ, and what can exift nowhere but 
ill the organ. 

They do not poflefs, nor can we even conceive 
them as capable of polTeifing, any one of the qua- 
lities, which we coniider as efTential to, and in- 
feparable from, the external folid and independ* 
ant fubilances^ 

yirfi, they have no eltenfion. They are nei- 
ther long nor Ihort ; they are neither broad nor 
narrow j they are neither deep nor (hallow- The 
bodies which excite them, the fpaces within which 
they may be perceived, may poflefs any of thofe 
dimenfions; but the Senfations themfelves can 
poflefs none of them. When we fay of a Note in 
Muiic, that it is long or ihort, we mean that it is 
fo in point of duration. In point of extenfion we 
cannot even conceive^ that it Ihould be cither 
the one or the other* 

Secondly, Thofe Senfations have no figure. 
They are neither round nor fquare, though the 
bodies which excite them, though the fpaces with- 
in which they may be perceived, may be eiiicr the 
one or the other. 



Thirdly, Thofe Scnfations are incapable of mo* 
tion. The bodies which excite them may be mor- 
^d to tf greater ot to a fmaller diftance. The Sen- 
fatioD6 become fainter in the one tafe, and ftron-* 
ger in the other, Thofe bodies may change theiJ? 
di region with regard to the organ of Senfation. 
If the change be confiderabie, the Senfations un- 
dergo fome fenfiHe variation in confequence of it. 
But ftill we never afctibe motion to the Senfations. 
Even when the perfon who feels any of thofe Sen* 
fations, and ronfequently the organ by which he 
feels them, changes his lituation, we never, even 
in this cafe, fay, that the Senfation moves, or is 
flioved- Ij feems to exift always, where alone 
it is capable of exifting, in the organ which feels 
it. We never even afcribe to thofe Senfations the 
attribute of reft ; becaufe we never fay that any 
thing is at reft, unlefs we fuppofe it capable of 
fiiotion. We never fay that any thing does not 
change its fituation with regard to othvf things, 
tinlcfs we fuppofe it capable of changing that fitu- 

Fourthly, Thofe Senfations, as they have no 
«xtenfion, fo they can have no divilibility. Wc 
cannot even conceive that a degree of Heat ot 
Cold, that a Smell, a Tafte, or a Sound, ftiould 
be divided (in the fame manner as the folid and 
extended fubftance may be divided) into two 
halves, or into four quarters, or into any other 
number of parts. 

V « But 


But though all thefe Senfationd are equally 
iQcapable of divifion ; there are three of them^ 
Tafte, Smell) and Sound ; ivhich feem capable 
of a certain compofition aud decoEDpoiition. 
A fkilful cook will, by his tafle, pferhaps, 
fometimes diflinguifh the different ingredients, 
ivhich enter into the compofition of a new 
iaucei and of which the fimple taftes tnake up 
the compound one of the fauce. A fkilftil per- 
fumer may, perhaps, fometimes be able to do 
the fame thmg with regard to a new Scent. la 
a concert of vocal and inflrumental mufic, an 
acute and experienced £ar readily diftinguiflies 
all the different founds which ftrike upon it 
at the fame time, and which may, therefore, 
be confidered as making up one compound 

Is it by nature, or by experience, that we 
learn to diftingnilh betwisen fimple aiid com- 
pound Senfations of this kind? I am difpofed 
to believe that it is altogether by experience; 
and that naturally all Tafles, Smells, and 
Sounds^ which affe£k the Orglti of Senfsitioa 
at the fame time, are felt as fimple and un« 
compounded Senfations* It is altogether by 
experience, I think, that we learn to obfcrvc 
the different affinities and refemblances which 
the compound Senfation bears to the differeDt 
fimple ones, which compofe it, and to judg^ 
that the different caufes, which naturally excite 
thofe different fimple Senfations, enter into the 



f opipofition of that qaufe which excites the co^m- 
pounded Qne« 

It is fufficiently evident that this compo- 
fition and decompofition is altogether diffe- 
rent from that union and reparation of parts» 
ivhich conftitutes the divifibilitj of folid ex« 

The fenfations of Heat and Cold feem in? 
capable even of this fpecies of compofition and 
decompofition. The Senfations of Heat and 
Cold may be ftronger at one \ime and weaker 
at another. They may differ in degree, but 
•they cannot differ in kind. The Senfations 
of Tafte, Smeli, and Sound, frequently differ^ 
not only in degree, but in kind, They are 
Bot only ftronger and weaker, but fome Taftes 
sure fweet 9fid fome bitter; fome Smells are 
agreeable, and fon^e offenfive; ibme Sounda 
ve acute, and fome grave ; and each of thefe 
different kinda or qualities too is capable of 
an immenCb. variety of different modificati- 
ons. It is the combination of fuch .fimple 
Senfations, as differ not only in degree but 
in kind, which conftitutes the compounded Sen- 

Thefe four cklies of Senfations, therefore, 
having none of the qualities which are eflen- 
tial to, and infeparable from, the folid, ex- 
^rnalj and independent fuhftances which cx^ 



cite them, oaonot be qualities qr modlficatloaa 
of thofe fubftanccs. In reality wc do not na* 
turally confidcr them as fuch; though in the 
way in which we exprefs ourfelvcs on thfe fub- 
jed, there is frequently a good deal of am- 
biguity and confufion.- When the different 
meanings of words, however, are fairly dif* 
linguifh'ed, thefe Senfations are, even by the 
xnofl ignorant and illiterate, underftood to be^ 
not the qualities, but merely the effe&s of 
the iblid, external, and independant fubftances 
upon the feniihle and living organ, or upoa 
the principle of perception which feels m that 

Philofopbers, however, have not in general 
fuppofed that thofc exciting bodies produce 
thofe Senfations immediately, but by the in* 
tervention of one, two7 or more intermediate 

In the Senfation of Tafte, for example, thongh 
the exciting body prefles upon the organ of 
Senfation, this preffure is not fuppofed to be 
the immediate caufe of the Senfation of Tafte. 
Certain juices of the exciting body are fup- 
pofed to enter the pores of the palate, and 
to excite, in the irritable and fenfible fibres 
of that organ, certain motions or vibrations, 
which produce there the Senfation of Tade. 
But how thofe juices ffaould excite fuch mo- 
tions, or how fuch motions Ifaould produce, 



cither in the organ, or in the principle of 
perception which feels in the organ, the Sen- 
fation of Tafle; or a Senfation, which not 
only does not bear the fmalleft reiemblance to 
any motion, but which itfelf feems incapable 
of all motion, no philofopher has yet attempt- 
ed, nor probably ever will attempt ;o cxplaio 

to USt 

The Seafations of Heat and Cold, of Smell 
tnd Sound, ure frequendy e:!ccited by bodies 
at a diftance^; fometimes at a great dift^nces 
fropi the orgai^ which feels them* Kut it 
is a very aQtient and well-eftabliihed axiom 
in metaphyfics^ that nothing can a£l wher# 
it is not ; and this axiom, it muft, I thinki 
he acknowledged, is at leaft perfe£ily agree-* 
able ^9 o\ir natural an4 uf^M habits pf thinkt 

The Sun, the great fouree of both Heat and 
J^ight, is at a^ ioimenf^p diftance from us. His 
arays, however, (traverfing with inconceivable 
rapidity, the immenfity of the intervening tc^ 
gions,) as they convey the Senfation of Light 
to our eyes, fo they convey that of Heat to 
all the fenfihle parts of our body. They even 
convey the power .of exciting that Senfation 
(o all the other bodies that furround us. They, 
warm the earth, and air, we fay; that isj 
they convey ♦o the earth and the air the 
power of exciting that Senfation in our bo^ 



dies; A common fire produces, in the funm, 
manner, all the fame effe6is ; though the fpherc 
of its adlion is confined withio much narrower 

The odoriferous body, which is generally toa^ 
ftt fonie di&ance from hs, is fuppofed to a^ 
upon our '^rgans by means of certain fmall par- 
ticles of matter, called Effluvia, which being 
fent forth in all poflible dire6liohs, and drawa 
into our noftrils by the infpiration of breath-, 
ing, produce there the Senfation of SmelL 
f The minutenefs of thofe fmall particles of mat^ 
ter, however, muft furpafs all human compre* 
henfion. Inclofe in a gold box, for a few hours, 
^ fmall quantity of mulk. Take out the muflc, 
and clean the box with foap and water, as care* 
fully as it is po0ibk. IiJothing can be fuppofed 
to remain in the box, but fuch effluvia as, having, 
penetrated into its interior pores, may have ef- 
^aped the effeila of thi« cleanfing. The box, 
however, \yill retain, the fmell of mufk for Qiany, 
1 do not knpw for how many years; and (kefc 
effluvia, how minute fo^ver we; may fuppofe them, 
muft have had the powers of fuhdividing them- 
felves, and of emitting other effluvia of the fame 
kind, continually, and without any interxuption, 
during fo long a period. The niceft balance, 
however, which human art has been able to ib- 
vent, will not (how the fmalleft increafe of weight 
in the box immediately after it has been thus care* 
fully cleaned. . 


The Senfatioa of Sound is frequently felt at 
^ much greater diftance from the founding, than 
that of Smell ever is from the odoriferous body/ 
The vibrations of the founding body, however, 
are fuppofed to produce certain correfpondent 
vibrations and pulfes in the furro^inding atmo& 
phere, which being propagated in all diredlions, 
reach our organ of Hearing, and produce there, 
the Senfatioii of Sound. There are not many 
philofophical do&rines, perhaps, eftablifhed up- 
6n a more probable foundation, than that of 
the propagation of Sound by means of the pulfes 
or vibration3 of the air* The experiment of the 
bell, which, in an ezhaufted receiver, produces 
jxo fenfible Sound, would alone render this doc« 
trine fomewhat more than probable. But this 
great probability is ftill further confirmed by the 
eomputatioqs of Sir Ifaac Newton, who has 
ihown that what is called the velocity of Sound, 
or the time which pafTes between the com- 
mencement of the aftion of the founding body, 
and that of the Senfation in our ear, is perfeft- 
ly fuitablei to the velocity with which the pulfes 
and vibrations of an elaftic fluid of the fame 
^ienfity with the air, are naturally propagated. 
Pr. IVanklin has made obje&ions' to this doc<t^ 
trine, but, I think, without fuccefs« 

Such are the intermediate caufes by which phi- 
^ofophers have endeavoured to conneft the Sen- 
fations in our organs, with the diftant bodies 
^hieh excite them* How thofe intermediate. 



caufes, by the dificrtat motions and vibrati6ns 
which they may be fuppofed to excite on our or* 
gans, produce there thpfe different Senfations, 
^one of which bear the f^ialleft refemblance ta 
vibration or motion of any kind, no philofophci* 
)ua yet attempted tp explain to ug* 

Of the Sinfc of Seeing. 

Ph., Berkley, in hia New Theory of Vi-. 
£on, one of tl^e fineft examples of philofophical 
^alyfis that is to be founds either in our own, 
or in any other language, lias explained, fo very 
diftin£lly, the nature of the obje^sof Sight ; their 
diffimilitude to, as w^l^ as their correfpondcnce 
and connexion with thofe of Touch, that X havo 
Icarcely any thing to add to what he has alrea-t 
dy done. It is only in o^der to render fom^ 
things, which I fhall have occafion to fay here* 
after, intelligible tq fuch readers as may not havo 
had an opportunity qf ftudying his book, that | 
liave prefumed to treat of the fame fubje^, after 
fo great a Mailer. Whatever I ihall fay upon it^ 
if not diredly borrowed from him, has at leai^ 
been fu^geft^d by ivhat he has already faid. 

That the objeds of Sight are not perceived as 
refifting^ or prefling upon the organ which per- 
ceives them, is fufficiently obvious. They-can* 
not therefore fuggeft^ at leaft in the fame man- 


net, as the ohjcdis of Touch, the externality and 
ixidepcndency of their exiftence, 

iWe arc apt, however, to imagine that we fee 
objeds at a diftance from u&, and tliat confer 
quenily the externality of their cxiftence is im- 
mediately perceived by our Sight. But if we 
confider that the diftance of any objedl from the 
eye, is a line turned endways to it ; and that this 
line muil confequently appear to it, but as one 
point; we ihall be fenfible that diftance from the 
eye cannot be the immediate obje A of Sight, but 
that all viiible obje^^s muft naturally be percived 
3S dofe upon the organ, or more properly, per« 
baps, like all other Senfations, as in the organ 
which perceives them. That the objeAs of S^i 
are all painted in the bottom of the eye, upon 
a membrane called the rttina, pretty much ia 
the fame manner as tbe like objeds are painted 
in a Camera Obfcura, is well known to whoever 
has the flighteft tin&ure of the fcience of Op« 
tics ; and the principle of perception, it is pro* 
bable, originally pereeives them, as exifting ia 
that part of the organ, and nowhere but in that 
part of the organ* No Optician, accordingly^ 
no perfon who has ever beftowed any OKxlerate 
degree of attention upon the nature of Viiioo, 
has ^ver pretended that diftance from the eye 
was the immediate objedl of Sight, How it is 
that, by means of our Sight, we learn to judge 
of fuch diftances. Opticians have endeavoured 
to explain in fevcial different ways. I ihall not^ 



however, at prefent, (lop to examine their fyl\ 

The obje^fi pf Touct arc folidity, and tbofe 
modifications of folidity which we confider aa 
eflential to it, and infeparable from it; folid ex« 
tenfion, figure^ diviiibility, and mobility. 

The obje£l$ of Sight ace colour, and thofei 
modifications of colour which, in the fame man-* 
Ber, we confider as eflential to it, and infepara- 
ble from it ; coloured extenfion, figure, divifibi- 
\ityy and mobility. When we open our cjesy 
the fenfibk coloured obje^s, which prefent them- 
felyes to us, muft all have a certain extenfion^ 
or muft occupy a pertain portion of the vifible 
furface which appears before us. They muft too 
have all a certain figure, or muft foe bounded by 
certain vifible lines, which mark upon that fur- 
face the extent of their refpe£live dimenfions. 
Every fenfible portion of this vifible or coloured 
€Xteniion muft be conceived as divifible, or aa 
feparable into two, three, or mpr? parts. Every 
portion too of this vifible or coloured furface 
muft be conceived as moveable, or as capable of 
changing its fituation, and of aflbming a differ 
xent arrangement with regard to the other port 
tions of the fame furface. 

Colour, the vifible, bears no refemblance to 
folidity, the tangible objeA. A man born blind, 
or who has loft his Sight fo eai;ly as to have no 



remembrance of vifiblc objefts, can form no 
idea or conception of colour. Touch alone can 
never help him to it. I have heard, indeed, of 
lome perions who had loft their Sight after the 
age of manhood, and who had learned to diftin- 
guifh, by the Touch alone, the different colours 
of cloths or filks, the goods which it happened 
to be their bufinefs to deal in. The powers by 
which different bodies excite in the organs of 
Sight the Senfations of different colours, proba- 
bly depend upon fome differcince in the nature, 
'x:onfiguration, and arrangement of the parts 
Svhich conipofe their refpe&ive furfaces. This 
difference may, to a very nice and delicate 
touch, make ifome difference in feeling, fuffici- 
cnt to enable a perfon, much interefted in the 
cafe, to make this diilindion in fome degree, 
though probably in a very imperfeft and inac- 
curate one. A man born blind might poffibly be 
taught to make the fame diftindlions. But though 
he might thus be able to name the different co- 
lours, which thofe different furfaces reflefted, 
though he might thus have fome imperfeft notion 
of the remote caufes ofthefe Senfations, he could 
have no better idea of the Senfations themfelvcs, 
than that other blind man, mentioned by Mr, 
!Locke, had, who faid that he imagined the Co- 
lour of Scarlet refembled the Sound of a Trum- 
pet. A man born deaf may, in the fame maii- 
ner, be taught to fpeak articulately. He is taught 
how to fhape and difpofe of his organs, fo as to 
pronounce each letter, fyllable, and word. But 



fiill, though he may have fome imperfed idea of 
the remote caufes of the Sounds which he him« 
felf utters^ of the remote caufes of the Senfa- 
tious which he himfelf excites in other people; 
he can have none of thofe Sounds or Senfationi 

If it were poffible, in the fame manner, that 
a man could be born without the Senfe of Touch- 
ing, that of Seeing could never alone fuggeft to 
him the idea of Solidity, or enable him to form 
any notion of the external and refilling fubftance. 
It is probable, however, not only that no man, 
but that no animal was ever born without the 
Senfe of Touching, which feems effential tOj 
and infeparable from, the nature of animal life 
and exiftence. It is unneceflary, therefore, to 
throw away any reafoning, or to hazard any 
coDJedures, about what might be the effcfts of 
what I look upon as altogether an impoffible fup- 
pofition. The eye when preffed upon by any 
external and folid fubftance, feels, no doubti 
that preflure and refiftance, and fuggefls to us 
(in the fame manner as every other feeling part 
of the body) the external and independent ex- 
iftence of that folid fubftance. But in this cafe, 
the eye a£ls, not as the organ of Sight, but ai 
an organ of Touch ; for the eye poffefles the 
Senfe of Touching in common with almoft all 
the other parts of the body. 



The extenfion> figure^ divifibility, and mobi- 
lity of Colour, the fole obje€k of Sight, though» 
on account pf their correfpondcnce and connec« 
tion with the exteniion, figulrc, divifibility, and 
mobility of Solidity, they are called by the fame 
tiame, yet feem to bear no fort of refemblanco 
to their namefakes* As Colour and Solidity bear 
no fort of refemblanee to one another, fo neither 
can their refpeflive modifications. Dr. Berkley 
veryjuftly obferves, that though we can conceive 
cither a coloured or a folid line to be prolonged 
indefinitely, yet we cannot conceive the one to 
be added to the othen We cannot, even in 
imagination, conceive an objeft of Touch to be 
prolonged into an objeil of Sight, or an objeft 
of Sight into an objeft of Touch. The objeds 
of Sight and thofe of Touch conftitute two 
words, which, though they have a moft impor- 
tant correfpondence and connexion with one 
aiiother, bear no fort of refemblanee to one ano- 
ther. The tangible world, as well as all the dif- 
ferent parts which compofe it, has three^ dimen- 
fions. Length, Breadth, and Depth. The vifi- 
blc world, as well as all the different parts which 
compofe it, has only two. Length and Breadth. 
It prefcnts to us only a plain or furface, which, 
by certain ihadcs and combinations of Colour, 
fuggefts and reprefents to us (in the fame man- 
ner as a pi6lure does) certain tangible objcfts 
which have no Colour, and which therefore can 
bear no refemblanee to thofe ftiades and combi- 
nations of Colour. Thofe ihades and combina- 


tiona fiiggeft thofe different tangible objefti as 
at different diftances, according to certain rules 
of Perfpeftivc, which it is, perhaps, not ve^ 
*afy to fay how it is that we learn, whether by 
fome particular in{lin£l, or by feme application 
of either reafon or experience^ which has be- 
come fo perfectly habitual to us, that We are 
fcarcely feniible when we make ufe bf it. 

The diftinanefs of this PerfpeAi^, the pre- 
cifion and accuracy with which, by means of it, 
we are capable of judging concerning the diftancc 
of different tangible objeds, is greater or lefs, 
exadly ia proportion as this importance to us. 
We can judge of the diftance of near objefts, of 
the chairs and tables, for exaoiple, in the cham- 
ber where we are fitting, with the moft pcrfeft 
precifion and accuracy; and if in broad day- 
light we ever ftumble over any of them^ it rauft 
be, not from any error in the Sight, but froai 
fome defedl in the attention. The precifion and 
accuracy of our judgment concerning fuch near 
objeds are of the utmoft importance to us, and 
conftitute the great advantage which a man who 
fees has over one who is unfortunately blind- 
As the diftance increafes, the diftinftnefs of this 
Perfpeftive, the precifion and accuracy of our 
judgment gradi^ially diminifti. Of the tangible 
objefts which are even at the moderate diftance 
of one, two, or three miles from the eye, we 
are frequently at a lofs to determine which is 
neareft, and which remoteft. . It is foldom of 



much importance to us to judge with precifioa 
coocerning the fituation of the tangible objedls 
%vhich are even at this moderate diftance. As 
the diftance increafes, our judgments become 
more and more uncertain; and at a very great' 
diftance, fuch as that of the fixed ftars, it be- 
comes altogether uncertain. The moft precife 
knowledge of the relative fituation of fuch ob- 
jcSLs could be of no other ufc to us than to fatis- 
f j the moft unncceffary curiofity. 

The diftances at which different men can by 
Sight diftiaguiftb» with fome degree of precifion, 
the iituation of the tangible objedls which the vi- 
fible ones reprefent, is very different ; and this 
difference, though it, no doubt, may fometimes' 
depend upon fome difference in the original con- 
figuration of their eyes, yet feems frequently to' 
arife altogether from the different cuftoms and 
habits which their refpeftive occupations have 
led them to contraft. Men of letters, who live 
much in their xlofets, and have feldom occafioa 
to look at very diftant obje6ls, are feldom far- 
fighted- Mariners, on the contrary, almoft al- 
ways are ; thofe efpccially who have made many 
diftant voyages, in which they have been the 
greater part of their time out of fight of land, and 
have in day-light been conftantly looking out to- 
wards the horizon for the appearance of fome 
fiiip, or of fome diftant fliore. It often aftonifli* 
es a land-man to obferve with what pfecifion a 
failor can diftinguifti in the Offing, not only the 

X appearance 

pt 6F the external SEMSEfl. 

appearance of a fhip, which is altogether invifi-' 
ble to the land-oian, but the number of her 
mails, the dineftion of her eourfe, and the rate 
of her failing. If (he is a Aip of hid acqnain- 
tfence, he frequently can tell her name, before tbe 
knd-man has been able to difeorer even the ap- 
pearance of a &ip» 

' Vifible objefts. Colour, and all its different 
modifications, are in themfelvcs mere fhadows or 
piftures, which feem to float, as it were, before 
th^i organ of Sight. In themfclves, and indepen- 
dent af connexion with the tangible objeds 
which they rcprefent, they are of no importance 
to us> «id can eileatially naither benefit us nor 
hurt us-. Even while we fee them we are feldooi 
thinking of them. Even when we appear to be 
looking at thorn with the greateft earneftnefs, our 
whole attention is frequently employed, not up- 
on them, but upon the tangible objeds reprefent* 
ed by theou 

It is becaufe almdft our whole dttentk>n is em- 
ployed, not upon the vifible and reprefenting^. 
but upon the tangible and reprefented obje&s, 
that in our imaginations we are apt to aferibe ta 
the former a degree of magnitude which doea 
not belong to them, but which belongs altogether 
to the latter^ * If yon ibut one eye, and hold im- 
mediately before the other a fmall circle of plain 
glafs, of not more than half an inth in diame*- 
ter, you may fi^ through that circle the moA eiE- 



teniive profpe6ts ; lawns and woods, and arms 
of the fea, and diftant mountains. You are apt 
to imagine that the Landfcape which is thus pre- 
fented to you, that the'vifible Pi^lure which you 
thus fee, is immenfrfy great and extenfive. The 
tangible objefts which this vifible Pi&nre repfe- 
fents, undoubtedly are fo. But the vifible PiftAre 
•which reprefents them can be no greater than (he 
little vifible circle through which you fee it. If 
while you are looking through this circle, you could 
conceive a fairy hand and a fairy peiicil to come 
between your eye and the gkfs, that pencil could 
delineate upon that little glafs the outline of all 
thofe extenfive lawns and ^Voods, and arms of 
the fea, and diftant mountains, in the full and 
cxadl dtmenfions with which they are really feea 
by the eye. 

Every vifible objeft which covers from the eye 
any other vifible object, muft appear at leaft as 
large as that other vifible objeft. It muft occu- 
py it leaft an equal portion of that vifible plain 
or futface which is at that time prefented to the 
ey<*. Opticians accordingly tell us, that all the 
vifible objefts which are feen linder equal angles 
muft to the eye appear equally large. But the 
vifible objeft, which covers from the eye any 
other vifible objeft, muft neceffarily be feen un- 
der angles at leaft equally large as thofe under 
which that other objeft is feen, Wheti I hold 
tip my finger, however, before my eye, it ap- 
pears to cover the greater part of the vifible 

X z chamber 


chamber in vi^hich I am fitting. It Ihould there* 
fore appear as large as the greater part of that 
vifible chamber. But becaufe I know that the 
tangible finger bears but a very fmall proportion 
to the greater part of the tangible chamber, I 
am apt to fancy that the vifible finger bears but 
a like proportion to the. greater part of the vifi- 
ble chaniber*. My judgment correfls my eye- 
fight, and, in my fancy, reduces the vifible ob- 
jed, which reprefents the little tangible one, be- 
low its real vifible dimenfions ; and, 6n the con- 
trary, it augments the vifible objeft which re- 
prefents the great tangible one a good deal be- 
yond thofe dimenfions. My attention being ge- 
nerally altogether occupied about the tangible 
and reprefbnted, and iiot at all about the vifible 
and reprefenting obje6ls, my carelefs fancy be- 
llows upon the latter a proportion which does 
not in the leaft belong to them, but which be- 
longs altogether to the former* 

it is becaufe the vifible ohjcGt which covert 
any other vifible objeft muft always appear at 
leaft as large as that other objed, that Op 
ticians tell us that the fphere of our vifion ap* 
pears to the eye always equally large ; and tbat 
when we hold our hand before our eye in fuch t 
. manner that we fee nothing but the infide of the 
hand, we ftill fee precifely th<i fame number ot 
vifible points, the fphere of our vifion is ftill 
as completely filled, the retina is as entirely cck 
vered with the objed which is thus prefen 



to it, as wh^i^ we fyrvey the moft ext^nfivc ho- 

A young gentleman who was born with a ca- 
tara£l upon each of his eye^ was, in one thou- 
fand feven hundred and twenty-eight, couched 
by Mn Chefclden, and by tha,t means fox the 
firft time made to fee diftindlly. " Ax, firft, fays 
** the operator, he could bear but v^ry little 
** Sight, and the things he faw he thought ex- 
V trcmely large ; but upon feeing things larger, 
** thofe firft fcen he conceived lefs, never being 
** able to imagine any Jines beyond the bounds 
" he faw ; the rpom he was in, he faid, he knew 
" to be but part of the houfe, yet he could not 
'* conceiye that the whole hpufe woyld look big- 
** ger.'' It was unavoidable that \ie ibould at 
firft conceive, that no vifible objeA could be 
greater, could prefcnt to his eye a greater num- 
ber of vifible points, or could more completely 
fill the comprehenfion of an 9rgan, than the 
narroweft fphere of his yifion. And when that 
fphere came to be enlarged, he ftill could not 
conceive that the vifible objeAs which it pre- 
fented could be l^i^ger than thofe which he had 
firft feen. He muft probably by this time have 
been in fome degree habituated to the connec- 
tion between vifible and tangible objeds, and 
enabled to conceive that vifible objed to be fmall 
which reprefented a fmall tangible objed ; to be 
great, which reprefented a great one. The great 
9bje£ls did not appear to his Sight greater than 



the fmall ones had done before; but the fmall 
ones, which, having filled the' whole fphere of 
his vifion, had before appeared as large as poffi- 
ble, being now known to represent much fmaller 
tangible objedls, fecmed in his eonception to 
grow fmaller. He had begun now to employ his 
attention more about the tangible and reprefem- 
cd, than about the vifible and reprefenting ob- 
je£ls ;. and he Was beginning to afcribe to the 
latter, the proportions and dimenfions wlucl\ 
properly belonged altogether to the former. 

As we frequently afcribe tp the objefts of Sight 
a magnitude and proportion which does not real- 
ly belong to them, .but to the objeds of Touch 
which they reprefent, fo we likewife afcribe tp 
them a fteadinefs oif appearance, which as little 
belongs to theip, but which they derive altoge- 
ther from their connedion with the fame objefls 
of Touch. The chair w^iich now Hands at the 
farther end of the, room, I am apt to imagiflc, 

, appears to my eye as large as it did when it 
flood clofe by me, when it was feen under an- 
gles at leaft four times larger than thofe under 
which it is feen at prefent, and when it muft 
have occupied, at leafl, fixtfseo^ times that por- 
tion which it occupies at prefent, of the vifible 
plain or furfacc which is now before my eyes. 
iSut as I know that the magnitude of the ungi- 

^ ble and reprefented chair, the principal obje^ oi 
my attention, is the fsime in, both fituations, I 
afcribe to the vilible and xeprefenting chiir 


(though now reduced to lefs thaunhe fixtcenth 
part of its former dimenfiohs) a lleadinefs of ap- 
pearance, which certainly belongs not in any 
refpea to it, but altogether to the tangible and re- 
prefented one. As we approach to, or-retire frooi^ 
the tangible obye^l which any vifibleonereprefenta^ 
ihe vifible objeft gradually augments in the one 
cafe, and diminiCbes in the other. To fpeak accu* 
rately, it is not the fame vifible object which we fe? 
at different diftances, but a fucceflioa of vifible 
obje&s, which, though they all refemble one 
another, thofe efpecially which follow near after 
one another; yet are all really different and difi* 
tm&. But as we know that the tangible obje6l 
which they reprefent remains always the famC;, 
we afcribe to th^m too a famenefs which belongs 
altogether to it: and we fancy that we fee the 
fame tree at a mile, at half a mile, and at a few 
yards diftance. At thofe different difta^ces, 
howevfer, the vifible objects are fo very widely 
different, that we are fenfible of a change in theijr, 
appearance. But ftill, as the tangible objed 
which they reprefent remains invariably the fame, 
we afcribe a fort of famenefs even to them too. 

It has been faid, that no man ever faw the 
fame vifible objeA twice ; and this, though, no 
doubt, an exaggeration, is, in reality, much lefs 
fo than at firft view it appears to be. Though 
I am apt to fancy that all the chairs and tables, 
and other Uttle pieces of furniture in the room 



where I am fitting, appear to my eye always the 
fame, yet their appearance is in reality continu- 
ally varying, not only according to every varia- 
tion in their fituation and diftance with regard 
to where I am fitting, bnt according to every, 
even the mod infenfible variation in the altitude 
of my body, in the movement of my head, or 
even in that of my eyes. The perfpeftive dc- 
ceflarily varies according to all, even the finall- 
eft of thefe variations ; and confequently the 
appearance of the objeAs which that perfpec- 
tive prefents to me. Obferve what difficulty a 
portrait painter finds, in getting the perfon who 
fits for his pidure to prefent to him precifely 
that view of the countenance from which the 
firft outline was drawn. The painter is 
fcarce ever completely fatisfied with the fitua- 
tion of the face which is prefented to him, and 
finds that it is fcarcely ever precifely the fame 
with that from which he rapidly fketched the 
firft outline. He endeavours, as well as he can, 
to correft the difference from memory, from 
fancy, and from a fort of art of approximation, 
by which he ftrives to exprefs as nearly as he 
can, the ordinary effedl of the look, air, and 
character of the perfon whofe piAure he is draw- 
ing. The perfon who draws from a ftatue, 
which is altogether immoveable, feels a difficul- 
ty, though, no doubt, in a lefs degree, of the 
fame kind. It arifes altogether from the difficul- 
ty which he finds in placing bis own eye pr^ 
cifely in the fame fituation during the M^bole 



time which he emploj^s in completing his draw- 
ing. This difficulty is more than doubled up- 
on the painter who draw^ from a living fubje£l. 
The ftatue never is the caufe of any variation or 
nnfteadinefs in its own appear^nc^*^ The living 
fubjed frequently is. 

The benevolent pqrpofe of nature in beftow- 
ing upon us the fenfe of feeing, is evidently to 
inform us concerning the fituation and diftance 
of the tangible objedls which fur^-ound us. Up- 
on the knowledge of this diftance and ^tuatiou 
depends the whole condudl of human lifcj^ iu 
the moil trifling as well as in the moft important 
tranfa£lions. Even animal motion depends up- 
on it ; and without it we could neither movie, 
nor even fit ftill, with complete fecurity. The 
objects of fight, as Dr. Berkley finely obferves, 
conftitute a fort of language which the Au- 
thor of Nature addrefifes to pur eyes, and 
by which he informs ys of many things, 
which it is of the utmoft importance to us to 
know. As, in common language, the words or 
founds bear no refemblance to the things which 
they denote, fo in this other language, the vifi- 
ble objefis bear no fort of refemblance to the 
tangible obje£l which they reprefent, and 
of whofe relative fituation, with regard both 
to ourfelves and to one another, they inform 
us. ' " 



He acknowledges, however, that though fcarce- 
\y any word be by nature better fitted to cxprcfi 
one meaning than ^y other meaning, yet that cer- 
tain viiible objeAs are better fitted than others to 
reprefent certain tangible objeAs. A vifible fquarc, 
for example, is better fitted than a vifible circle 
to reprefent a tangible fquare. There is, perhaps, 
ilridly fpeaking, no fuch thing as either a viiible 
cube, or a vifible globe, the objefis of fight be* 
ing all naturally prefented to the eye as upon one 
furface. ' But fiill there are certain combinations 
of colours which are fitted to reprefent to the eye, 
both the near and the diflant, both the advancing 
and the receding lines, angles, and furfaces of 
the tangible cube ; and there are others fitted to 
reprefent, in the fame manner, both the near and 
the receding furface of the tangible globe. The 
combination which reprefents the tangible cube, 
would not be fit to reprefont the tangible globe; 
and that which reprefents the tangible globe, 
would not be fit to reprefent the tan^ble cube. 
Though there may, therefore, be no refemUance 
between vifible and tangible objefls, there fecms 
to be fome affinity or correfpondence between 
them fufficient to make each vifible objcft fitter 
to reprefent a certain precife tangible objed than 
any other tangible objedl. But the greater part 
of words feem to have no fort of affinity or corref- 
pondence with the meanings or ideas which they 
cxprefs ; and if cuftom had fo ordered it, they 
might with equal propriety have been made ufe of 
to exprefs any oth^r meaning or ideas* 



Dr. Berkley, with that happinefs of illuftratiou 
which fcarcely ever defprts him, remarks, that 
this in reality is no more than what happens in 
common language ; and that though letters bear 
DO fort of refemblance to the words whjich they de- 
mote, yet that the fame combination, of letters 
-jivhich reprefents one rwoyd, would not always be 
fit to reprefent aqother; and that each. word is 
always befl reprefejated by its own proper com^ 
bination of letters. The companfon, however, 
it muft be obferved, is here totally changed. The 
coaneaiou between vifible and tangibly objefts 
was firft illuftrated by comparing it with that be^ 
tween fpoken language and the meanings or idea^ 
which fpoken language fuggefts to us ; and it i^ 
liow illuftrated, by the cQtxQeftion between written 
lajiguagc and fpoken Unguage, which is altoge- 
ther different. Even this fccond illuftration, be^ 
fides, will not apply perfedlly to the cafe. When 
cuftom, indeed, has perfe<Slly afcertained the 
powers of each letter ; when it has afcertained, 
for example, that the firft letter of the alphabet 
Ihall always reprefent fuch a found, and the fc- 
cond letter fuch another found ; each word comes 
then to be more properly reprefented by one cer- 
tain combination of written letters or charaders, 
than it could be by any other combination. But 
ft ill the charaders themfelves are altogether 
arbitrary, and have no fort of affinity or corref- 
pondence with the articulate founds whi^h they 
denote. The charader which marks the firft l^t- 
t^x of the alphabet, foy cxamj^^ ^ cuftom hacl 



fo ordered it, might, with perfeft propriety, 
have been made ufc of to exprefs the found 
which we i^ow annex to the fecond, and the cha- 
rader of the fecond to exprefs that which we now 
annex to the fir(Vt But the yifibl^ charaders 
which reprefent to our eyes the tangible globe, 
could not fo well reprcfent the tangible cube ; nor 
could thofe which reprcfent the tan^ble cube, 
fo properly reprefent the t^tngiblc globe, Tterc 
is evidently, therefore, a certain affinity and cor- 
refponden^e bet^^een each vifible objeA J^nd the 
precife tangible objed reprefpnted by it, much 
fuperior to what tak^s place either between writ- 
ten and fpoken language, or between fpokcn lan- 
guage and the ideas or meanings which it fuggefts. 
The language which nature addrejTes to our eyes, 
has evident^ a fjtnefe of reprefentation, an apti- 
tude for fignifying the precife things which it de- 
notes, much fuperior to that of any of the artifi- 
cial languages which human art aiid ingenuity 
h^ve ever been able to iAventt 

That this affinity and correfpondence, how- 
ever, between vifible and tangible obje&s could 
not alone, and without the affiftance of obfcrvati- 
on and experience, teach us, by any effort of 
reafon, to infer what was the precife tangible ob- 
jcSt which each vifible one reprcfipnted, if it is not 
fufficiently evident frpm what has been already 
faid, it muft be completely fo from the remarks 
of Mr. Chefelden upon the young gentleman 
above-mentioned, whom he had couched for a 

' » cataract* 


cataraft. " Though we fay of this ^gentleman, 
" that he was blind," obferVes Mn Chefelden, 
^^ as we do of all people who have ripe catarads ; 
" yet they are never fo blind from that caufe but 
" that they can difcern day frotti night ; and for 
*^ the moft part, in a flrong light, diftinguifh 
•' black; white, and fcarietj but they cannot per- 
" ceive the fhape of any thing -; for the light by 
" which thefe perceptions arc roade^ being let in 
" obliquely through the aqueous humour, or the 
** anterior furface of the cryftalline, (by which the 
" rays calinot be brought into a focu^ Upon the. 
'" retina,) they can difcern in no other manner 
" than a found eye can through a glafs of broken 
" jelly, where a great variety of furfaces fo difj . 
" ferently refraift the light, that the feveral dif- 
" tinft pencils of rays cannot be coUedled by the 
*' eye into their proper foci ; wherefore the ihape 
** of an objeil in fuch a cafe cannot be at all dif* 
' earned, though the colour may : and thus it was 
" with this young gentleman, who, though he 
" knew thofe x:olotirs afunder in a good light, 
" yet when he faw them after he was couched^ 
" the faint ideas be had of them before were not 
*' fufScient for him to know them by afterwards ; 
" and therefore he did not think them the fame 
" which he had before known by thofe names/' 
This young gentleman, therefore, had fome ad- 
vantage over one who from a ftate of total blind- 
nefs had been made for the firft time to fee. He 
had fome imperfed notion of the diftinftion of co- 
lours; and he muft have known that thofe colours 




had fome fort of conne6lioa with the tingibk 6b- 
jeAs which he had been accuftomed to feel. But 
had he emet^ed from total bliodnefs, he could 
have learnt this conne6tioQ^nly from a very long 
courfe of obfervation knd experience- How little? 
this a^vanta^e availed hirta, however, we may 
learn partly from the paflages of Mr. Chefelden's 
narrative, already quotedi and ftill more from 
the following 1 

•* When he firft faw/^ fays that ingenious ope- 
rator, " he was fo far from making any judgment 
** about diftances, that he thought all 6bje£ld 
•* whatever touched his eyes (as he exprcfTed it) 
*^ as what he felt did his ikin ; and thought no ob- 
*^je<38 fd agreeable as tbofe which were fmooth 
•* and regular, though be coiild form no judg- 
*^ ment of their ihape, orguefs what it was in any 
**'obje6l that was pleafing to him- He knew not 
^ the fhape of any thing, nor any one thing from 
*• another, however different in fhape or magni- 
" tude ; but upon being told what things were, 
•' whofe form he before knew from feeling, be 
** would carefully obferve, that he might know 
*• them again ; but having too many objefts to 
** learn at once, he forgot many of them ; and (as 
"hefaid) at firft learned to know, and again for- 
•* got a thoufand things in a day. One particular 
^ only (though it may appear trifling) I will re- 
late : Having often forgot which was the cat, 
« and which the dog, he was aftiamed to a(k ; 
<« but catching the cat (which he knew by feeling) 

" he 



•' he was obfervcd to look at her ftedfaftfya wi<f 
•*^then fetting her down, faid. So, pufs ! J (half 
** know you another time." 

Whefi the young gemlefti^Q faid, that the olv- 
jc6ls whteh he few touched hi& eyes, he certainVf 
could not mean that they prelFed upon or refifted 
his eyes ; for the objefts of fight never aft upon 
the organ in any way that refembles preffure <» 
refinance* He could mean no more than that tlkey 
were clofe upon his eyes, or, to fpeak more p«K 
perly, perhaps, that they were in his eyes. A 
deaf man, who was made all at once to hear, 
might in the fame manner naturally enough fay^ 
that the founds which he heard touched his ears^ 
meaning that he felt them as clofe upon his ea)rs> 
or, to fpeak, perhaps, more pix)periy, ^ in his 

Mn Chefelden adds afterwards : " We thought 
** he foon knew what pictures reprefented which 
** were Ihewed to him, but we found afterwards 
** we were miftaken ; for about two months after 
•^ he was couched, he difcov^red at once they 
** reprefented foUd bodies, when, to that time, 
" he confidered them only as party-colpured 
•* planes, or furfaces diverfified with variety of 
" paints ; but even then he was no lefs furprifed> 
*' expefting the pidures would feel like the things 
*^ they reprefented, and was amazed when he 
*^ found thofe parts, which by their liglu and 
^ fhadow appeared now round and uneven, felt 

^^ only 


^^ Only flat and like the reft ; and aiked which \ns 
" the lying fcnfe, feeling or feeing ?" 

Painting, though, by combination of light and 
Ihade fiinilat tothofe which Nature makes ufe of 
in the, irifible objeds which ih$ prefent^ to otir 
eyedj it endeavours to imitdte thofeobjeds; yet 
it never has been able to equal. the perfpedive df 
Nature^ or to give to its productions that force 
and diftindnefs of relief and projeAion which 
Nature beftows upon hers. Whfcn the yoting gen- 
tleman was juft beginning to underftand the flrong 
and diftind perfpedive of Nature, the faint and 
feeble perfpedive of Painting made no imprefhon 
upon him, and the pidure appeared to him what 
it really was, a plain furface bedaubed with dif- 
ferent colours. When he' became more familiar 
with the peifpedive of Nature, the inferiority of 
that of Painting did not hinder him from difco- 
Yering its refemblance to that of Nature. In the 
perfpedive of Nature, he had always found that 
the iituation and diflance of the tangible and re- 
prefented objefls, correfponded exadlly to what 
the vifible and reprefenting ones fuggeftcd to him. 
Heexpededto find the fame thing in thefimllar, 
though inferior perfpedive of Painting, and was 
difappointed when he found that the viiible and 
tangible objeAs had not, in this cafe, their ufual 

" In a year after feeing," adds Mr. Chefelden, 
« the young gentleman being carried upon Ep- 


•* fom-downs, and obferving a large profpe6l, he 
" was exceedingly delighted with it^ and called it 
" a new kind of feeing/' He had now, it is evi- 
dent) coine to tinderftand completely the lan^^ 
guage of Vifioo* The vifible objedls which this 
noble profpedi prefented to him did now appear 
as touching) or as clofe upon his eye* They did 
not. DOW appear of the fame ms^nitude with thofe* 
fmall obje^s to which, for fome time after the 
operation, he bad been accuftomed^ in the little 
chamber where he was confined^ Thofc new vifi- 
ble objefts at once, and as it were of their own 
accord, afiumed^ both the diflance and the magni- 
ttide of the gre^t tangible obj^^ls which they rc'^ 
prefented. He had now, therefore, it would 
feem, become completely mailer of the languages 
of Vifion, and he. bad become fo in the courfe of 
a yea/ ; a much fhorter period than that in which 
tmy perfon, arrived at the age of manhood, could 
completely; acquire, any foreign language. It 
would appear too» that he had made very conii-* 
derable progrefs even in the two firft months. He 
began at that early period to underftand even the 
feeble perfpedlive of Painting ; and though at firft 
he could not diftinguiib it from the flrong perfpec- 
tive of Nature^ yet he pould not have been thus 
impofed upon by fo imperfe£l an imitation, if the 
great principles of Vifion had not beforehand been' 
deeply imprefTed upon his mind, and if he had 
not, either by the aflbciation of ideas, or by fome 
other unknown principle, been ftrongly deter- 
niined to ezpedl certain tangible obje&s in con«- 

Y fequence 


fequcnce of the vifible ones which hftdlbeen pTc- 
fented to him. This rapid progrefs, however, 
may, perhaps, be accounted for from that fit- 
nefs of reprefcntation, which has already bceo 
taken notice of, between vifible and tangible ob- 
jeftsw In this language of Natnte, itmaybefaid, 
the analogies arc mrore perfcft ; the etymologies, 
the d^iclenfions, and conjugati<ms, if one may 
fay fo, are more regular than thofe of any bumao 
language. The rules are fewer, and thofe rales 
admit of no exceptions^ 

But though it may have been alt<i^ether by the 
flow paces of obfervation and experience that this 
young gentleman acquired the knowledge of the 
connexion between vifible and tangible chje&s ; 
We cann6t fixmi thence with ^rtaiaty infer, that 
young children have not fome infiin^ive pcrcep 
tion of the fame kind. In him this inftindive 
Jjower, not having been exerted «t the prober 
feafen, may, fromdifufe, have gene gradually to 
decay, andat laft have been completely obliterat- 
ed. Or, perhaps, (what feemslikewifc very pof- 
fible,) fome feeble and unobfer^d remains of it 
may have fomewhat facilitated his acquifitioB of 
what he might otherwife have found it much more 
difficult to acquire^r 

That^ aipitecedent ttf all ^tperience^ the youfif 
of at leaft the greater part of aniffiab pofieTsfome 
inftindive pertepticm of this kind, feems i^- 
liently evident. The hen aeverietds her yomig 



Dy^rbpping the fobd into their billa, a^ the lin- 
net and the thliilh jfeed theirs. Alni^ as foon 
as her chickens are hatched, ihe does hot feed 
them^ but carries th^ca to the field to feed^ where 
tl»y. walk about at th$ir eafe> it.wovlldifeesD, and 
appear to havls the moft diftind pc^cepdi^n of all 
the ta^gil^e objedto which furround them*. We 
may often fee tfaeni, accordingly^ by the (kaight- 
^ road, run ;to add pick up any little grains 
which Jbe iO^wd them^ ieven at. the diftance of 
feveral yal-ds i and th^ no iboner cogqc into the 
Jight than th^ feem to underftand this laagQ%ge 
.trf Vifion as Well as they ever do afterwards; The 
young Of the jpartridge and of the groufe feem td 
have, at the fame early period, the moil diftinft 
perceptions tif the fame kind. The young par- 
tridge, lilmoftasfoon as it comes from the iheU» 
xuns about ami^og the long grafs land cdrn ; the 
young groufe imiong long heathy and would both 
ineftflfentiaUy.hurt thaiiifelves if they had not 
the moft acme, as well as diftin^l jperception of 
^e tangible obJQ&a tlfirhich not only furrbund them 
, but pj'eft uf>on them on aU.ildes. Hiis is the cafe 
too with the ydung bf the gocrfe, Qf the diicki 
and, fo fair as I have been able to obferve^ with 
thofe of at lieaft thegteater part of the birds which 
make thdr nefisiupon the ground^ wi&h the great- 
er part of thofe which are ranked by Linnaeus in 
the orders t>f the hen ind the goofe, and of many 
of thofe long-ihanked and wading birds which he 
places in the order that he diftinguUhes hj the 

t « The 


The ybuiig of thoiTe birds that build their ocfti 
in buihes, upon trees, in the holes and crevices 
of high walls, upon high rocks and precipices, 
and other places of difficult accefs ; of the greater 
part of thofe ranked by Linndeus in the orders 
of the hawk> the magpie, and the fparrow, feem 
to come l^nd from the fliell, land to continue 
fo for at leaft forae days thereafter. Till they 
are able to fly they ate fed by the joint la- 
bour of both parents. As foon as that period 
arrives, however, and probably for fome time 
before^ they evidently fenjoy all the powers of 
Viiion in the moft complete perfedion, and can 
diflinguifli with moft ezaA preciiion thefiiape 
and proportion of the tangible objeds which 
every vifibfe one re^refents. In fo fliort a 
period they cannot be fuppof^ to have ao- 
qaited thofe powers from experience, and muft 
therefore derive them from fome infiindive fiig- 
geftion. The fight of birds feems to be both 
more prompt and more acute than that of any 
other animals. Without hurting themfelves they 
dart into the thickeft and moft thorny bnflies, 
fly with the utmoft rapidity through the moft 
intricate forefts, and while they are foariog 
aloft in the air, difcover upon the ground the 
little infers and grains upon which they feed. 

The young of feveral forts of quadrupeds 
feem, like thofe of the greater part of birds 
which make theit nefts upon the ground, to 
enjoy as foon as they come into the world 



the faculty of feeing as completely as they 
ever do afterwards. The day, or the day af- 
ter they ' are dropt, the calf foUofws the. cow, 
and the fosl the mare, to the field ; and though 
from timidity they feldom remove &r from 
the mother, yet they feem ta walk about at 
their eafe; which they could not da ujoMs 
they could diftinguifli, with fome degBee ef 
precifion, the (hape and proportion. of the tan- 
gible ohje&B which each vifible one reprefents. 
The degree of preciiion, however, with which 
tlie bq^fe k capable of m^ki^g this difiinaion, 
feems at no period of his life to be very com- 
plete. He is at all times apt to fiartle at many 
vifible objed«> whicli^ if they* difiin^ly fug* 
gefted ta him the real ihape' »Ad proportion 
ef the tangible obje^ which they reprefent, 
could hot be the objeds of fear ; at the trunk 
or root ef an eld tree, for example, which 
happens to be laid by the road fide, at a 
great fione^ or the fragment of a rock which 
happens to lie near the way where he is going. 
To reconcile him, even to a fingle objed of 
this kind, which has once alarmed him, fre- 
quently requires fome fkill, as well as much 
patience and good temper, in the rider. Such 
powers of fight, however, as Nature has thought 
proper to render him capable of acquiring, he 
feems to enjoy from the beginning, in as great 
perfedion as he ever does afterwards. 



' The youngvpf other qi]adru)»ed8, like thofe 
^ the birds which make their nefts in phcei 
of di&cnlt Mcefs, comi blxnti into the WDiid. 
Their fight, however, foon opesiS, aad as fooa 
«8 it do^ £[>, they feein to eujoy it ia the mofl 
complete perfefiion, as we may all obfcnre ii( 
the puppy and the kitten. The fame thiDg> I 
tielieve, may be faid of altoth^r beafts of prey, 
at kail of all thofe concerning which I hav^ been 
able to colled my diftind infotti^ation. They 
come. blind into the. world ;. but ^ fpon ao^ their 
%ht opens, they appear to.ex)jpyit in theiOQfll 
complete perfedion. 

, It fe^ms difficult .tq fu|ifpOfe that maa is the 
only anifnal of which the y^cmng are n<H^^Q^ 
^owed with fome inftin&ive percepiioQ of this 
kind. The young of the human fpec^s, bow- 
ever, continue fo long in a .iUte of enure de* 
^ndency^ they, mud be ii> long .carried <abQ8f; 
in the arm« of their mothers or of their nurfes^ 
that fuch in inftindive perception may feem 
Icfe necfflayy to them than tft ftny other .race 
of animator , Before it could .be of ^ny ufe to 
them, obfoifvaition and e:scperi?aee may, by tbe 
known priiSkciple of the aSbcmion of ideas, 
hafvc frffficiemly conne^d in their young miods 
eath vifible object with the corrcfponding,.ian- 
gible ofte: which it is fitted. to. reprefent Na- 
ture, it may be faid, nevcx beftows upon, any 
animal any faculty which is not either necef- 
lary. or ufefuU and an inftind of this kind 



fvaald be ali^ether t^tef^^ to ^ri aniinal wjiic^ 
muft ^eocOfucily acquire t^e. Icraoiyledge whic)i 
Uie ioftiad i; i[iyea tQ (np^Vy, long, before 
that inftindi could be of aay ufe to it. ChiU 
cUc^n, hiOweyei:, j^^pear at fo v^ry early a pe- 
ariqd to kno]iK tl^ dift.^Ofce, fl^e ih^pf ,^ j^nd.^iag- 
DUud? of,jthfc4jff§rc»$ tangiW^ obj^&a which 
Are prfiipnt$4 P ^hem, that I ^^ difpofed to 
beli$v<s tbat ^yeo. they may havp fome iDftiacr 
tiy^ pcFcepaoa p£ this \dxA i though ppihbly 
la a ffluqlj w«ak« <}egt« thm t^ greater, pajt 
oC other aiuoiajist. A^^.c^i^ t})afe is icarcely a 
month old, ftreich<&l out its bands to f^ aay 
little play-thing that is prefented to it. It 
^ing^iihe^ .iu wrijbi ajad > the other people 
ifrbp are miicji ^ut if, frooi ilrangerst, U 
dings to the. fofTqeif, and turns avi^ay from th^ 
latter. Hok}. a {mall lopking-glafs, before a 
child. Gjf QOt BiQrc than two or th^ee months 
old, and it vill flretch out its little, arms be-* 
hind the gla(a, in order to £pel the child whicb 
it fees, and whicb i( i(nagtnea is at the badf: 
of the glaf«Y It \s deceived, nc^ (loubtf bu( 
cv^n this fort of deceptiQq fufiiciently d^mon- 
Urates tbat )t has a tolerably diilin^^ apprehen» 
fion of the ordinary perfp^ive of Yifion, whic^ 
it cannot well b^ve learnt from qbferyation aAd 

Do any of «ur other ftpnfes, antecedently tai 
fach obfervation and experience, inftindively 
fuggeft to us fom^ copceptioA of the foli^ and 



wfifting fubftancM which excite Ihfeir refpeftivc 
-fcnfatians ; though thefe fenfations bear no foit 
of refemblance to thofe fubftaoces? 

The fenfe of Tafting certakilT' does Dot. 
-Before we can feel the fenfations the folid and 
Tefifting fubftance which exciteftt it muft be 
prefled againft the organs of Tafte, and muA 
confequently be perceived by them. Ante- 
cedently to obfervation and experience, ^there- 
fore, the f^nfe of Tafting ean never be faid 
InfiinSively to fuggeft fome conceptions of that 

It may, perhaps, be otherwife wkh the fenfe 
of Smelling. The young of all fackling anir 
mals, (of the Mammalia of Linnaeus,) whether 
they are born with fight or without it, yet 
as foon as they come into thd world apply 
to the nipple of the mother in order to fuck. 
In doing this they are evidently dire&ed by 
the Smdl. The Smell appears either to ex- 
cite the appetite for the proper food, or at 
leaft to direS the new-born animal to the place 
where that food is to be found. It may perhaps 
do both the one and the other. 

That when the fiomach is empty, the Smell 
of agreeable food excites and irritates the ap- 
petite, is what we all mu^ have frequently ex- 
perienced. But the ftomach of every new-bora 
animal is necefiaiily empty. While in the 



inromb it is nourifhed, not by the month, but 
by the navel-ftring. Children have been bora 
apparently in the moft perfeft health and vi» 
gour, and have applied to fuck in the ufual 
manner; but immediately, or foon after, have 
thrown up the milk, and in the courfe of a 
few hours have died vomiting and in convuU 
iions. Upon opening their bodies it has been 
found that the inteftinal tube or canal had 
never been opened or pierced in the whole 
extent of its length; but, like a fack, ad* 
mitted of no paflage beyond a particular place. 
It could not have been in any refpeft by the 
mouth, therefore, but altogether by the navel- 
firing, that fuch children had been nourifhed 
and fed up to the degree of health and vi- 
gour in which they were born. Every ani- 
mal, whUe in the womb, feems to draw its 
nouri(hment, more like a vegetable, from the 
root, than like an animal from the mouth ; 
and that nourilhment feems to be conveyed 
to all the different parts of the body by tubes 
and canals in many refpeAs different from thofe 
which afterwards perform the fame funSion. 
As foon as it comes into the world, this new 
fet of tubes and canals, which the providen*- 
tial care of Nature had for a long time be- 
fore been gradually preparing, is all at once 
and^inftantaneoufly opened* They are all emp- 
ty, and they require to be filled. An un- 
eafy fenfation accompanies the one fituation, 
and an agreeable one the other. The fmell 



of the Jubiftapce which is fitteci fo^ Sting, Uiem, 
iucreafcs and irritatf^s that uneafy fcjafation, zjii 
produces hunger, pr the appetite for food. 

But all the appptitC9 which takp their ori* 
gin from a certain ftatf of t^$ body, ftpcmtQ 
fuggefi the jpeaus of tjieir own gratificftion; 
and, even long bpfore e^iperienpe, ibnie aaticiw 
pation or preconception of the pleafure whick 
attends that gratification. , In |be {ippetitf for the 
Sex, whiph frequently, I ^uq^ifpQfitd.tq l^liev^ 
j^qioft afway^, conies a long tipi* before the age 
otf'puberty^ thi* is petfe6lly and di^inftly evh 
dent. The appetite for food fuggeft^ td the new* 
j^npL infant th^ ppcration of fucking, the only 
ineans by which it can poflibJy gratify that appc» 
tite« It is continually fuckiogt It fucl^a whate- 
ver i^ prcfented to its mouUi. It fucks even 
when there is nothing prefented to i^ fliQutK 
and fome anticipation or precoixceptton of the 
j^cafure which it ia to eujoy in fuckii^ feeaw 
to make it delight ia putting it^ mouth into the 
ihape and configuration by ^hich it alooe cao 
pnjoy that pleafure. There are other appetites 
in which the mod unexperienced, wagination 
produces a fimilar effedl upon the oFgWS which 
Kature has provided for th^ir gratificatipA\ 

The Smell pot only excites the appetite* but 

dlreds to the obje& which tan alone gralify that 

appetite. But by fuggefting the dire&ioa towards 

that objedi, the Smell muft neCefianly fugg^ 



f&tiifi bb^i of dlftanc^K and extehialhy, which 
arc neceflarily involved in thp idea pf direction ; 
in the idea of the Hp^ pf motion by which the 
fdiftance c^fx be beft^ oveircoiiie> and the mobth 
brougfat^oto cont{t£t. with t\\e unknowa fubftaoe^ 
whiie& lis the objeA of ther ^jfrpedtc. That th6 
Stnell flKmld alone &g^ft any • precdiilceptipn of 
the fliapc 0r magnhndci 0f the external body to 
wfaich^ it dii^^, fesrmt not .very probable* Tjbe 
fen&tion of Smell feet&s to haVe na fort iof affinit j^ 
or eoi'refpoodeiice'Witkifaape pt ooagfaitiide j^: fttfd 
whatever ppecoixsepciap th^ infant may h«ve of 
thefe, (and it my very probaUyJkave £oioe fiieh 
pi^doikeptioD,) ia iikBy to bt Siggtf!ted, fo 
^uch direaiy by the Sdidl, knd indiniAly hj 
five appetite excited by that Sniell; a&by tbe.priip.r 
^iple which teachea the 'child to mould its mouth 
into theeonformatiomand adioitof fuckihng, eveii 
t>efore it reaches the obj|e& to whith Uone that 
c;<mfoni]atioa and aAion can foe u&fully iippli^d. 

The Smell, however, as it fiiggefts the diredion 
by which the external body muil be dpproachedji 
mttft fuggeft at leaft fome vague idea or preconcep-j 
tion of the exiftence of that body ; of the thing to 
which it diipe^s, though not perhaps of the precife 
fliape and magnitude of that thing. The infant, 
too, feeling its mouth attra£l^d and drawn as it 
were towarcjs that external body, mufl conceive 
the Smell which thus draws and attra£ls it, as 
fometMng belonging to or proceeding from that 
body, or what is afterwards denominated and ob- 



fcureiy underftood to be a< a fort of cpulity or 
attribute of that body. 

The Smell, too, may very probably fuggeft 
fome evea tolerably diftinA perception of the 
Tafte of the food to Drhich it diieds. The re- 
fpedive objeda of out different external fenfes 
feem, indeed, thegveatcr part of them, to bear 
no fort of resemblance to one another. Ccdoor 
bears no fon of refemblance to. Solidity, nor to 
Heat^ nortoCold> nor tei Sound, nor to Smelly 
nor to Tafte. To this fttu^cal rule, however, 
there feems to be one, and perhaps but one ex- 
ception. The feniations of Smell and Tafte feem 
evidently to bear fome fort of refemblance to one 
another* Smell appeam to have been given to ua 
by Nature as the diredor of Tafte. It announces, 
as it were, before trial, what is likely to be the 
Tafte of the food which is fet before us^ Though 
perceived by a different organ, it feem^ in many 
cafes to be but a weaker fenfation nearly of the 
fame kind with that of the Tafte which that an- 
nounces. It is very natural to fuppofe, therefore, 
that the Smell may fuggeft to the infant fcmie tole- 
rably diftindi preconception of the Tafte of the 
food which it announces, and may, even before 
experience, make its mouth, asweiay> water for 
that foodt 

That numerous divifion of animals which Lip- 
nsus ranks under the clafs oi worms ^ have, fcarce- 
ly any of them^ any head. They neither fee nor 
hear, have neither eyes nor ears ; but many of 

I them 


them have the power of fclf-motion, and appear 
to move about ia fearch of their food. They can 
be dire&ed in this fearch by no other fenfe thaa 
that of Smelling. The moft accurate microfcopi* 
cal obfervations, however, have never been able 
to difcover in fuch animaU any difiin£l organ of 
SmelL They have a mouth and a ftomach, but 
no noftrils. The organ of Tafte, it is probable, 
has in them a fenfibility of the fame kind with 
that which the olfadlory nerves have in more 
perfeA animals* They may, as it were, tafte at a 
difiance, and be attraAed to their food by an 
a£Bedion of the fame organ by which they after- 
wards enjoy it; and Smell and Tafte may in them 
be no otherwife diftinguifhed than as weaker or 
ftronger fenfations derived from the fame organ. 

The fenfations of Heat and Cold, when excited 
by the preflure of fome body either heated or cool- 
ed beyond the a£lual temperature of our own or- 
gans, cannot be faid, antecedently to obfervation 
and experience, inftin&ively to fuggeft any con- 
ception of the folid and refifting fubftance which 
excites them. W hat was faid of the fenfe of Tafte 
may very properly be faid here. Before we can 
feel thofe fenfations, the preflure of the external 
body which excites them muft necefiarily fuggeft, 
not only fome conception, but the moft diftin& 
conviAion of its own external and independent 

It may be otherwife, perhaps, when thofe fenfa- 
tions are either of them excited by the temper^* 


tatc oftheextetnA air. lii i calm <iay when tbtre 
is no wind, we fcArecly perceive the citfefnal air 
«8 a folid body; and the fesifationa of Heitand 
Cold, it tiiay be tliought, arc then felt merely as 
kfie&iond df otir own body, without any reference 
to any thing external; Several cafes; however, 
inay be conceived, iii which it muft be allowed, I 
imagine, that thofc fenfationS,' even when^cited 
in this manner, muft fuggeft fome vagtte jaoriofl of 
fome external thing or fuSftancc which eicitcJ 
them. A new-bom aniina}, which had the power 
6f felf-motion, and which fek its body, eiikcr 
ligreeably dr difagreeably,' more heated or inore 
tooled on the one fide than on the other, ^ould, 
t imagine, inftinftively, atfd antecedently to all 
oWervation and expenence, endeavour to aaovc 
towards the fide in which it feh the agreeable, and 
to withdraw from that in which it felt the difa- 
greeable feafation. But the very defire of motion 
fuppofcs fome notion or preconception of externa- 
lity ; and the defire to move towards the fide of 
the agreeable, or from that of the difagretablc fcn« 
lation, fuppofes at leaft fome vague notion -offoiBc 
external thing or place which is the caufe of thofe 
MfpeAive fenfations. 

The degrees of Heat and Cold which ate aigr^ 
able, it has been found.from^xperienee, , are lik^ 
wife healthful ; . and thofe which are. difagreealide, 
univholefome. The degree of their unwholdbme- 
nefs, too, feems to be pretty much in proportion 
-to that of their difagreeablendfs. If either^f them 
is fo.difagreeable-as tO' be painful, his geBenltj 


of TK£ external senses^ 33« 

•lefiru£tivc ; and that, too,, in a very Ihort period 
of time. Thofc fenfation$ appear to have been 
given us for the prefervation of pur Qwn bp^U^. 
They necefjjirily excite the dffire of changing our 
fitjuation when it is unwhotefome or deftruftive; 
and when it is healthy, they allow us, or rather 
they entice us, to remain in it. But the defire of 
changing our fituation neceflarily fuppofes hifxc 
idea of externality ; or of motion into a place dif- 
ferent from that in which we adlually are ; and 
even the defire of remaining in the fame place fup- 
pofes fome idei of at leail the pofiibllity of change: 
ing. Thofe fenfations could not well have an- 
fwered the intention of Nature, had they not thus 
inflin£lively fuggefted fome yagiie notion of ex- 
ternal exiftence^ 

That Sound, the objeA of the fenfe of Hearing, 
though perceived itfelf as in the ear, and powherc 
but in the ear, may likewife, inftinftively, and an- 
tecedently to all obfervation and experience, ob- 
fcurely fugged fome vague notion of fome external 
fubftance or thing which excites it, I am much dif- 
pofed to believe. I acknowledge, however, that 
I have not been able to recolleil any one inftance 
in which this fenfe feems fo diftindly to produce 
thisieffe^, as that of Seeing, that of Smelling, and 
even that of Heat and Cold, appear to do in fome 
particular cafes. Unufual and uuexp$6led Sound 
alarms always, and difpofes us to look about fot 
fome external fubilance or thing as the caufe which 
excites it, or from which it proceeds. Sound, 
however, confidered merely as a fenfation, or as 



an afTedlion of the organ of Hearing, can iii thoft 
cafes neither benefit nor hurt us. It may be agree- 
able or difagreeable, but in its own nature it does 
not feem to announce any thing beyond the im- 
mediate feeling. It Ihould not therefore excite 
any alarm. Alarm is always the fear of fome un- 
certain evil beyond what is immediately fe]t, and 
from fome unknown and external caufe. But all 
animals, and men among the reft, feel fome degree 
of this alarm, ftart, are roufed and rendered cir- 
cumfpefl and attentive by unufual and unexpeded 
Sound. This effefi, too, is produced fo readilf 
ind fo inftantaneoufly that it bears every mark o( 
an inftindive fuggeftion of an impreifion immedi- 
ately ftruck by the hand of Nature, which does not 
wait for any recolleSion of paft obfervatiou and 
experience. The hai^e, and all thofe other timid 
animals to whom flight is the only defence, are 
fuppofed to polTefs the fenfe of Hearing in the 
highcft degree of aftivenefs. It feems to be the 
fenfe in which cowards are very likely to excel. 

The three fenfes of Seeing, Hearing, and Smel- 
ling, feem to be given to us by Nature, not fo much 
in order to inform us concerning the adual ikoa- 
tionof our bodies, as concerning that of thofe other 
external bodies, which, though at fome diftance 
from us, may fooner or later affed that adual fitu- 
ation, and eventually either benefit or hurt us.